The sheer delight of the audience at Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Rossini’s Stabat Mater was clearly evident from the standing ovation led by the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Mark Shayer and Lady Mayoress, Mrs Samantha Shayer.

More than 100 choir members sung the many thousands of notes in perfect harmony, transforming the printed symbols from the page to convey the full spectrum of emotions from the wonderful opera infused music with sublime melodies, hushed passages, dramatic crescendos, exciting tempi and magnificent fugues. Hard work, commitment and trust underpinned the performance in order that everything gelled and came together superbly.

It was the sense of working together that was evident on the night from the Lord Mayor stepping in to hold the ladder steady for the photographer, to the warm congratulations from the other soloists offered to Stephen Jeffes who stood in with 24 hours’ notice to sing the very demanding Tenor part.

Soprano Catherine Hamilton’s performance was a masterclass in effortlessly soaring to the top notes and dancing through complex runs. It was a delight to listen to the excellent performances given by Mezzo-soprano Kate Symonds-Joy and Baritone James Cleverton.

Masterminding the concert and realising his vision for the performance was director of music, Christopher Fletcher; a man with nerves of steel, as the first time all the musicians came together was in the afternoon of the concert. He expended more energy than any runner will do in the forthcoming Plymouth Half Marathon. The amount of respect and admiration that he is held in by the choir and music community was clearly evident. He continues to set the bar very high for what at times is hard to believe is only an amateur, non-auditioned choir, but under his leadership is producing first class results.

Rehearsals for the next concert start with an open evening is on Thursday, April 11 at Meade King Hall, Plymouth College. If anyone is interested in joining the choir contact the membership secretary, Pat Brodie (01752 330337 [email protected])

Details about the choir’s next concert, on Saturday, June 22, are available on the choir’s website (