Enriching Christian worship through music and the arts

Inter-church choirs in Ipswich,

Bury St Edmunds and Colchester

Saturday 7 December 2019

St John the Baptist

Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich


The performers

Cantus Firmus Choir

Cantus Firmus Sinfonietta

Conductor: Richard Hubbard

Combined Schools Choir,

Drama, Dance and Art

Sidegate Primary School

St John's CEVA Primary School

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

St Helen's School


Chikezie Chike-Michael   Bass

Mary Forty    Contralto

Andrew Gosden   Tenor

Kate Hibbert    Soprano

Grace O'Reilly     Soprano

The event was a collaboration between Cantus Firmus Trust, Mission Ipswich East, the four schools, and St Edmundsbury Cathedral's InHarmony project.

Saturday was a magical night - I'll never forget it.

Estelle, Year 5

We liked Mr. Handel coming to our school. When he came to life again at Messy Messiah it was magnificent!

Jasirat, Year 6

I liked watching the soloists singing their joyful songs.

Alana, Year 5

I felt indestructible when I was singing.

Alfie, Year 4

It felt really good when I sang - I felt like I could do anything.

Fran, Year 5

Hearing the children singing "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God"  - a window on heaven, perhaps?

Mike, Orchestra

A unique performance of the most famous of all oratorios

Written in 1741, Handel's Messiah has been at the forefront of choral repertoire ever since, and its popualrity continues. But it is usually only performed and listened to by adults.  

We dared to believe that we could present it in a new way that involved all ages and many different art forms, bringing together children’s voices, an adult choir, professional musicians, and the creative artistic resources of local schools. The combined choirs numbered 170 voices, and St John's Church was packed for what one of the children described as "a magical night".

As the overture begins, My Handel, in full Baroque costume, appears, and receives a package containing the libretto written by his friend Charles Jennens. He is excited at the possibilities it offers, and explains to the audience how he intends to set each item to music.

Mr Handel has visited each school during the term, helping to deliver assembly material written for the event. In school, children worked on Messiah-based creative writing, art, dance and drama projects, many of which were incorporated into the performance.

A highlight of the evening was bass soloist Chikezie Chike-Michael turning the heads of the audience as he strode down the aisle singing "Thus saith the Lord".

The performance centred around the Christmas music from Messiah, with the addition of an audience carol, Joy to the World, the music for which is thought to have been written by Handel. The evening was rounded off with the Hallelujah Chorus.

Interested in putting on your own Messy Messiah?

We hope to have the music arrangements and other resources available as a pack during 2020. If you would like to receive notificaiton of that, please use our Contact Form to request to be kept informed.