Seline Augustine

Represented by Madras Musical Association

CHESTER (United Kingdom): About 300 choristers from the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, Holland, Slovakia, Ukraine and India participated in the International Church Music Festival held here recently.

The festival, held in the precincts of the nearly 1000-year-old Cathedral at Chester was a rewarding experience.

The 23-strong-choir of the Madras Musical Association representing India sang `Sanctuary' by Angella and Travis Cottrel, a medley of Tamil Christian keerthanais and the Vedanayagam Sastriar classic Varavenum Enatharasae in Mohana raga sung to recorded track showcasing Indian instruments. The applause was spontaneous.

The Tennessee-based Fest Corps Inc organised the four-day Festival, which began with the Lord Mayor of Chester, Sandra Rudd, inaugurating it.

The Orpheus, an eight-men ensemble from Ukraine, was the highlight of the concert. They impressed with their excellent blend of operatic voices rendering different genres. The renowned American duo-pianists Neilson and Young delighted the audience with a selection of classics from the cinema and Musical theatre. They have been performing for over 30 years and their coordination on the two magnificent grand pianos was awesome.

At 7.30 p.m. on Saturday, the church was filled to capacity.

Sir David Willcocks conducted the festival choir of 300 voices from all over the world accompanied by the English Symphony orchestra and David Poulter on the organ.

Paul Leddington Wright, the artistic director of the festival, conducted two of his own compositions to perfection and Sir Willcocks came back to conclude with Parry's `I was Glad'.