Chorus welcome French and German visitors

29 March 2022

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are looking forward to welcoming choirs from France and Germany for a mini-tour of Yorkshire in April, culminating in a joint performance of Handel’s Messiah with the world-famous Black Dyke Band on St George’s Day, in the presence of the Lord Mayor.

‘This long-awaited trip was planned two years ago, but we had to postpone it when the pandemic struck’ explained bass Matthew Morgan, who sings with both French and Sheffield choirs and organised the visit. ‘Fingers crossed that nothing stands in the way of it happening this time!’

The three choirs will come together at the City Hall on Saturday 23 April for this very special performance of the brass version of Handel’s Messiah. ‘We are thrilled to be working with Black Dyke on this multi-national project’ said Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge, ‘The brass Messiah isn’t often performed, and it’s such a privilege to be able to sing it with one of the best bands in the world, fresh from their recent win at the Yorkshire Championships, and with our friends from France and Germany’.

The joint concert echoes a similar visit made by the Sheffield choir a few years ago, when they joined the Philharmonischer Chor Bochum in a performance of Messiah to celebrate the opening of Bochum’s brand new concert hall. ‘The sister city partnership with Sheffield is our oldest’ said  Mayor Erica Stahl, ‘It was founded just five years after the end of the war and … many friends have been formed thanks to it’.

Members of the French choir, with whom the Chorus enjoyed a mini-tour of France in 2018, are driving to Sheffield ‘Just in case Covid messes up air travel’ explained Matthew. ‘We’re looking forward to bringing a mostly French programme, including choral and organ works by Faure, Gounod and Charpentier, to Malton in Yorkshire and Buxton in Derbyshire’.

The visit includes a tour of Sheffield Town Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor, as well as trips to York and Haddon Hall. Visiting choristers will stay with members of the Sheffield Chorus, who are looking forward to returning the superb hospitality enjoyed during their trips to France and Germany.

Tickets for this very special Messiah on Saturday 23 April at 7pm, are available from the City Hall. Catch the French Choir, Musical Director Patrick Hilliard and organist Christopher Hainsworth, at St Michael’s Church, Malton, Yorkshire on Friday 22nd April, and St John The Baptist Church, Buxton, Derbyshire, on Sunday 24th, both at 7pm, paying at the door.

For details see or  and

How Beautiful Are the Feet

In June 2020, during the coronavirus lock-down, our Music Director Darius Battiwalla produced brass arrangements of some movements from Handel’s Messiah that hadn’t up to then been arranged for brass band accompaniment. He did this in preparation for our performance of Messiah with the world-famous Black Dyke Band, originally scheduled for 2020 but which had to be postponed until April 2022.

Listen to one of the movements, the lovely soprano aria ‘How Beautiful Are the Feet’, sung by Yorkshire-born soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones accompanied by the Black Dyke Band.

Catrin Pryce-Jones

Yorkshire born Soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones studied music at the Royal Academy of Music, Chethams School of Music and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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Catrin has been soprano soloist with many choral societies including the Edinburgh Choral Union, Oxford Harmonic Choir, Brighton Orpheus Choir, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and the Halifax Choral Society, singing solo soprano in numerous oratorios including the Fauré Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, the Vivaldi Gloria, Bach’s St John Passion, Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation and of course Handel’s Messiah.

In 2017, Catrin appeared in the world premiere of Philip Wilby’s oratorio The Holy Face, along with Halifax Choral Society, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and the Black Dyke Band. She subsequently recorded the new oratorio along with the original world premiere participants.