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Local and Visiting Soloists to Star in Handel’s Messiah

In a very short while, audiences in Bathurst and Orange will have opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary talents of local and visiting soloists and choristers.

The Central West is fortunate to have two musical entities to nurture the latent talents of aspiring musicians – instrumental and vocal: the Mitchell Conservatorium of Music, in Bathurst, with which Allegri Singers are affiliated, and the Orange Regional Conservatorium, whose orchestra and choir will join the Bathurst group, to present Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. Choristers from Sydney’s Willoughby Singers will also join the ensemble.

While the presentation of a major work of this nature is a collaborative effort, some elements are worthy of special attention!  

Musical Director for Allegri Singers, William Moxey has the enormous task of drawing together the sundry talents of all the performers into a cohesive entity, of which the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. William’s experience as a professional singer of international standing, and his inspiring choral direction promise an outstanding result. We are fortunate indeed to have as the orchestra leader his wife, Lorraine Moxey, who has played violin for many years with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and is a music teacher at Kinross Walaroi School.

Soprano Bethany Carter-Sherlock will sing in the Bathurst performance. Bethany has long been a valuable member of Allegri Singers and is the Deputy Musical Director of the choir. Well known to Bathurst audiences, she has sung in and directed numerous musical productions, and is a highly qualified teacher of music, harp, piano and English.

Soprano Samantha Bartholomeusz will take the solo parts in the Orange performance.  Singing has always been part of her life, whether washing up, going on road trips, or at family gatherings.  Notable influences on her singing career are Dame Janet Baker, Renee Fleming, Audra McDonald, and Meriel Owens. She is well known to audiences in the region. Having studied singing teaching at Sydney Conservatorium, she is currently head of voice at the Orange Regional Conservatorium.

Alto Ellena Hicks is from Orange. She started singing at age 12 when she joined the choir at Canobolas Rural Technology High School where her music teacher, Lauren Aldrick, set her on the road to success. Ellena also began singing lessons at the Orange Regional Conservatorium with Samantha Barthololmeusz, who helped in her voice development and encouraged her to further studies. She is now in her fourth year at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, completing a BMus in classical voice. She has performed various solo roles and is currently an alto scholar at St. Stephen’s Uniting Church.

Tenor Michael Butchard is well known in Orange, not only to music aficionados, but also to connoisseurs of fine coffee – as a master coffee roaster. Bathurst and Orange audiences will remember him especially as tenor soloist in Allegri Singers’ 2019 production of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man.  Michael is a highly qualified musician; a graduate of the Royal College of Music in London, the University of Sydney, and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has performed numerous operatic roles in Australia, Europe and China.

Bass Christopher Hillier was born in Orange into a family of music lovers. From the age of 7, when he began music lessons, he had encouragement from family and numerous musical mentors. His time at St. Stanislaus’ College in Bathurst was a strong influence on his musical development.  Quite the all-rounder, he played piano, organ and French horn, until focusing on singing as his forte. His graduation from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the National Opera Studio in London has led to an impressive professional career, with many operatic roles in Australia and overseas.  

Two of the instrumentalists also deserve a special mention.

Timpanist Richard Miller recently retired from a stellar career including 42 years as principal timpanist of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, where he was affectionately known as the father of the orchestra.  He and his wife, Suzy, live in Bathurst, where they have a flourishing dahlia farm.  Richard has joined Allegri Singers as a bass chorister, and has generously offered to hop down from the back row of the chorus in time to play the timpani part in the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus.

Trumpeter Emma Russell will accompany Bass, Christopher Hillier, in the air ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’…and sound it will – gloriously!  Emma developed her trumpet skills while a student at All Saints’ College in Bathurst, with David Shaw as her piano accompanist throughout her HSC Music 2 and Extension music courses. She frequently performed with Mitchell Conservatorium, the Orange Symphony Orchestra and the Macquarie Philharmonia Orchestra.  While playing 1st trumpet with the Australian Youth Orchestra, she performed with Opera Australia, the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra. Now in her third year studying a Bachelor of Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she aims to be an orchestral musician after completing her degree.                                                                                                                                                           

No doubt the faces and voices of these hugely talented musicians will be familiar to many music lovers in the region.

Here is an opportunity for a rare treat – to hear them all performing in a single work.  Handel’s Messiah is deservedly the most popular of all Handel’s prodigious output. For Christian believers, it carries the compelling message of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. Even for those outside the Christian faith, its wide appeal exemplifies the most emotionally powerful and moving music, from orchestra, choir and soloists.

Don’t miss it!

Saturday, 9 April at 2pm in All Saints’ Cathedral, Bathurst.

Sunday, 10 April at 2pm in Holy Trinity Church, Orange.

Tickets all $45. Advance booking is recommended.

For Bathurst performance – from BooksPlus (down and across from Post Office), online at https://trybooking.com/BXODP,  or at the door.

For Orange performance – https://events.humanitix.com/handels-messiah

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