Richard Hale school was the venue on 2nd March 2013 for the Hertford Choral Society (HCS) Spring workshop as the choir welcomed eminent guests from the world of classical music Michael Berkeley, Anthony Payne and Jane Manning.

Michael Berkeley is President of HCS and was visiting Hertford during a momentous week for him when it was announced that he will be made a Lord for his services to music. A composer as well as presenter of Private Passions on Radio 3 for the past 15 years, Michael Berkeley interviewed Anthony Payne, who completed Elgar's 3rd Symphony to great acclaim, on the subject of the hugely popular oratorio, Elijah. HCS members were also fortunate to hear Jane Manning, international concert and opera soprano, recount her love of Elijah, which began as a young girl singing in the chorus while her father filled the lead role of the eponymous prophet.

As a footnote, Michael Berkeley has been commissioned to write an anthem for the enthronement in March of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The workshop concluded with a rehearsal of the complete oratorio as part of the preparation by HCS for a performance at All Saints Church in Hertford on Saturday 23rd March 2013, please see here for a review of this concert.

Pictured above with Michael Berkeley (centre) are Anthony Payne and Jane Manning on his left on his right are Derek Harrison and Jane Turner who are Musical Director and Deputy Chair of HCS respectively.

The panel of guests entertain HCS members with their informative discussion on the oratorio Elijah written by Felix Mendelssohn and first performed at the Birmingham Festival in 1846.

(Photographs by Stephen Turner)