‘We have to sing our socks off’: Manchester’s Halle Choir to perform at BBC Proms

The Halle Choir will perform at this year’s BBC Proms, alongside the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Manchester Chamber Choir in Beethoven’s masterpiece the Missa Solemnis.

This Prom marks the 10th appearance of the Manchester-based choir since their first appearance in 1930.

A piece that took the German composer four years to write, the Missa Solemnis was said to be one Beethoven’s favourite among his own work.

“It’s very exciting – there’s nothing quite like a Prom, the Albert Hall is a very special place, the atmosphere, the excitement, it’s great for the choir to be doing it,” said Halle Choir Chairman, Merryl Webster.

The choir’s 2015 award-winning performance of the same piece, conducted by Sir Mark Elder, had attracted the attention of the leaders of the Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic.

“The BBC Phil powers that be were at our performance of the Missa at the Bridgewater hall and they were blown away and thought it was wonderful,” said Merryl.

“It’s a very demanding piece, Sir Mark has wanted us to do it for years and finally felt like the choir was in a place where we could really tackle it.

“We worked our socks off on it and it got great reviews.”

However, Merryl admitted that the prospect of performing the work was originally a daunting one.

“I came to love it but all I knew about it was that it was 10 times harder to sing than Beethoven’s ninth so I was dreading it,” she said.

“But we worked so hard on it, we learnt how to sing it and to love it.

“It’s such a joyous piece, full of surprises and very moving but difficult to sing.

“You need a lot of stamina and have bring a lot of energy and really live it but when you do it’s very special indeed.”

The chairman added that she was proud that the Halle Choir will be representing Manchester to the Proms’ international audience.

“It’s a big thing for Manchester to be properly represented, so many people will be able to watch it live, on TV and on catch up,” she said.

“It’s really important that Manchester is featured in the Proms, also so we have to go and sing our socks off down there!”

The Halle Choir will perform on July 19 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Image courtesy of The Halle, via YouTube, with thanks

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