Renowned stars, local talent headline Peterborough Singers’ 2015 Messiah

Peterborough Singers' 2015 Messiah Poster
After 22 years of double annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, it’s no wonder the Peterborough Singers have established a firm reputation for delivering one of the most consistently moving, polished, and powerful renditions of Handel’s great masterpiece anywhere around.


“Performing Messiah is in the DNA of the Peterborough Singers,” explains Syd Birrell, artistic director of the Singers. “It’s remarkable when you realize that some of our members have been performing the work for Peterborough audiences every year, twice a year, since our founding over two decades ago! For the Singers, it just isn’t Christmas without the Messiah.”

But never a choir to stand still, the Singers constantly work to give audiences something new: both by perfecting and deepening their own interpretation of the oratorio and by delivering an ever-changing lineup of stellar soloists.

This year, the Singers will present a matinee performance on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3:00 pm., with another performance the following evening, Dec. 14, at 7:30 pm. Both of the performances will take place at George Street United Church.

This year’s roster of soloists includes not only established, critically acclaimed talent such as bass Daniel Lichti and tenor Darryl Edwards but also promising young singers, including former Peterborough Singer, Kristen English, who will perform the soprano solo parts on Sunday. English obtained a degree in Voice Performance and Music Education after leaving the Singers to attend university.

“One of the greatest pleasures of conducting this choir, hands down, has been working with some of our youngest members as they have discovered and then developed their talent,” says Birrell, “To watch them follow their dreams to build a career in music, and to welcome them back as soloists at our own concerts, is immensely satisfying.”

Another local up-and-coming soprano, Peterborough native Shannon McCracken, will perform the soprano solo parts on Monday. McCracken is the recipient of numerous awards and has experience in musical theatre, opera, and as a soloist.

Joining the lineup is mezzo-soprano Cassandra Warner, who has a diverse array of performing experience in opera, concert, and international competition and has been hailed by critics as a “powerful mezzo” and a “sensory epiphany.”

As always, the Singers will be anchored by Juno-winning organist Ian Sadler. Other supporting artists for this year’s Messiah include Paul Otway and Doug Sutherland on trumpet and Stan Ewing on timpani.