Rochdale News | News Headlines | Toad Lane Concerts: More Than Melody Ladies Choir


Date published: December 20, 2021

The melodic harmony of 16 female voices filled the fabulous acoustics of St Mary in the Baum with seasonal joy on Wednesday 15th December.

It was all the richer because of last year’s pandemic restrictions that affected choral activity so much.

More than Melody is made up of a group of ladies from Bury, Oldham and Rochdale, formed in 2008 by Alyson Brailsford to have fun and fellowship and also provide musical entertainment.

Conductor Jonathan Gibson was born in Northampton. Since graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), he has worked as a freelance horn player with several ensembles and orchestras. He is also currently Chief Executive of the Rochdale Phoenix Opera Society.

Accompanist Graham Chamberlain, since retiring as a full-time teacher, enjoys playing for church services in Rochdale and Oldham and accompanying soloists and choirs.

The choir delivered with enthusiasm – and sometimes sleigh bells – a cornucopia of appealing choral gems such as African Gloria, Carol of the Bells, Calypso Noel, The Christmas Song, as well as perennials like For The Beauty Of The Earth by John Rutter, When I’m 64 by Lennon & McCartney and A Winter’s Tale by Mike Batt and Tim Rice. Two numbers, Jingle Bell Rock and O Holy Night, were arranged by the bandleader.

Two excellent soloists emerged from the choir: Jennifer Workman in a beautiful mezzo rendition of Good Enough for Him by Peter Chesters, and Lynn Lee with a Heartfelt White Christmas by Irving Berlin.

Their final set included Winter Wonderland leading into an ABBA favorite, Thank You for the Music, and finally Stephen Lawrence’s A Very Very Merry Christmas, which sent everyone on their seasonal spirited journey humming along to their favorite tunes.

It was a fitting conclusion to a renewed tenure of 18 gigs of Rochdale’s weekly midday music hour. This was achieved thanks to a zealous management committee.

To book More Than Melody Ladies Choir, please contact Alyson via email.

Toad Lane concerts will (hopefully) resume in the New Year on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.

Toad Lane’s award-winning concerts take place every Wednesday at 12.30pm at St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. The entry fee is £6. No refreshments available at this time, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for more information.

Dr. Joe Dawson


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