The final performance in Keswick Choral Society’s busy 2018-19 season will be a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, one of the greatest oratorios in the choral repertoire.  First performed in 1846 to rapturous acclaim by an audience of 2,000, and then many times over the following hundred years, it fell out of favour after WW2 but in recent years has regained popularity.

The concert will take place in St John’s Church, Keswick, on Saturday 11 May 2019 at 7.30 pm.

The four soloists all have local connections:

Rachel Little (soprano) was born in Kendal.  She is the Artistic Director of the award-winning Amabile Girls’ Choir and has a successful teaching practice based in her home town.

Amy Shaw (mezzo-soprano) is a busy soloist and was Head of Music at Settle College before starting her MA in Vocal Performance at the Royal Academy of Music last year.

Christopher Steele (tenor) is based in Lancaster, and teaches voice at Sedbergh School, Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Lancaster Priory.  He has regularly appeared as a soloist for north-western choral societies.

Paul im Thurn (bass) lives in Carlisle with his family and is very well known on the local music circuit, singing both as a soloist and in choirs such as the Wordsworth Singers.  He also works as a barrister throughout Cumbria and the North West.

Ian Pattinson will provide the organ accompaniment.  Ian was brought up in Kendal where he was a chorister in the parish church.  He has been organist at Lancaster Priory since 2001.

The conductor is the Society’s Director of Music, Ian Hare, who has held organist’s positions at Cartmel Priory, Carlisle Cathedral and Crosthwaite Church, Keswick, and currently St Oswald’s Grasmere.   For 25 years he was the Chorus Master of Cumbria Rural Choirs.   Ian is an Honorary Fellow of Lancaster University and Cumbria Life Musician of the Year 2017.

This season’s events have been very varied, including:

  • a celebration of Keswickian suffragist Catherine Marshall. Marking 100 years since the first Votes for Women, a blue plaque was installed at Hawes End and several members of the Society performed music including Dame Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women;
  • in November the Society marked the centenary of the end of the First World War with an Armistice Commemoration of words and music, including a moving performance of Faure’s Requiem;
  • the Society’s popular annual Festival of Christmas Music had the capacity audience joining enthusiastically in favourite Christmas carols after listening to Vivaldi’s Gloria;
  • more carols were sung at Lakehead Court in December, much appreciated by the residents;
  • an Evensong for Passiontide at St Andrew’s Church, Dacre, including music by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Stanford.

Tickets for Elijah may be obtained on the door for £14, or in advance for £12 from Bookends, Keswick, or from choir members.

The Society is always happy to welcome new members.   Those interested in joining an active programme for 2019-2020 should contact us through or come along to Crosthwaite Parish Room (next to Keswick Co-op) at 6.50 pm on Tuesdays during the season.

Keswick Choral Society – Registered Charity no: 1161762