Music fans join in giant chorus

VIDEO An open invitation to join an impromptu chorus on the town's Cornhill saw more than 100 enthusiastic singers and instrumentalists get involved.

Naomi Cassidy

AN OPEN invitation to join an impromptu chorus on the town's Cornhill saw more than 100 enthusiastic singers and

instrumentalists get involved.

Any concerns that the first event of this year's Ip-Art festival yesterday afternoon might have been a flop if no one showed up were eradicated as a large group of both beginners and amateurs joined in.

Thanks to the keen musical folk of Ipswich and a decent crowd of spectators, it was a roaring success.

A number of people had pre-registered to perform on the stage in the town centre but several more signed up before the two-hour rehearsal began at 2.30pm.

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The main show began at 5.30pm and around 150 people, some who had brought their own chairs, watched while enjoying the sunshine as the newly formed Ipswich Festival Chorus pelted out classics such as Nessun Dorma and the Hallelujah Chorus.

Vera Rogers, secretary of the Ipswich Arts Association, said: “Some people turned up at the rehearsal and said they wanted to watch for a while before they got on stage because they were a bit nervous.

“Although there were many people who belonged to music groups, some were just members of the public who wanted to have a go.

“There was a real mix and that is the brilliant thing about it. This is the first year we have done this and everyone has enjoyed it.

“This time last year it was raining so we were very lucky with the weather.”

The instrumental chorus, comprising violins, French horns and cellos, accompanied all-time favourites including Toreador's Song from Carmen, Verdi's Chorus of The Hebrew Slaves and the William Tell Overture.

The performance was led by conductor Stephen Rumsey, who is the musical director of the Ipswich Choral Society, and the chorus was presided over by Mark Oldfield.

Ipswich Central hosted the event, which was the town's first impromptu sing-along and play-along extravaganza.

- What do you think of the events at this year's Ip-Art Festival? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Fastfacts -

- This is the sixth summer festival for Ipswich and it runs until July 13

- During the next fortnight, there will be a number of music, arts and literary events taking place throughout the town

- As well as using more traditional spaces, Ip-Art takes exhibitions and performances into public buildings and spaces throughout the town

- The festival is organised by Ipswich Borough Council in conjunction with the festival management group comprising arts partners across Ipswich

- For more information or to check events, go to the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre, call 01473 433100 or e-mail or visit