'Joy and relief' as Ipswich choir returns with concert put off last Easter

St Mary le Tower is located in the heart of Ipswich, and is where King John's charter was delivered

St Mary le Tower is located in the heart of Ipswich, and is where King John's charter was delivered in June 1200. Picture: ARLEN JAMES - Credit: Archant

St Mary le Tower choir is picking up where it left off with a lot of "joy and relief" as it returns to live performance. 

Nearly 20 months after the original performance was scheduled, the Tower Chamber Choir is getting ready to perform St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. 

The concert was planned as part of the Easter festivities at St Mary le Tower for 2020 - but had to be postponed when the first national lockdown was announced. 

Christopher Borrett, the church's musical director and conductor of the performance, said the decision was taken to push it back a year in the hope the pandemic would be over. 

"But as we all know, we were very much not back in April - it was a much harsher lockdown, in fact, so it had to be postponed again." 

But the stage is finally set, with the choir able to meet, rehearse and prepare for the show on Saturday November 13 at 6pm. 

Speaking about the choir's return Mr Borrett said: "There's a lot of joy and a lot of relief around after so long apart. 

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"When we first returned to rehearsals I hadn't heard the choir perform in 18 months, so didn't know what shape anyone's voices would be in to take on this grand challenge. 

"But it's been so wonderful and such a relief to be back in the same room, standing as part of a group, singing great music. It's not the same over Zoom. 

"There was a little peril with the rates rising so high locally, we were worried some additional restrictions might mean another postponement, but thankfully that isn't the case and people are confident in coming back." 

Although St Matthew Passion is traditionally linked with Good Friday services, the themes of loss and humanity fit with this time of remembrance that will be recognised at the church over the weekend. 

The performance will be given by the Tower Chamber Choir and Tower Sinfonia and will include renowned soloists and instrumentalists. 

Tickets are available to purchase online and at the door prior to the performance. Those purchased for the original performance date are still valid.

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