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Hackney Singers enrapture hundreds of people with a concert to mark their 40th birthday

PUBLISHED: 09:05 09 October 2013 | UPDATED: 09:43 09 October 2013

The Hackney singers celebrated their 40th birthday with an evening of Victorian music on Saturday at St Mary's church in Stoke Newington

The Hackney singers celebrated their 40th birthday with an evening of Victorian music on Saturday at St Mary's church in Stoke Newington

Archant

A choir from Hackney packed out a Stoke Newington church on Saturday night during a performance marking 40 years since they were founded.

Hackney Singers held around 350 people spellbound with an evening of Victorian music at St. Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington Church Street, which was dressed and lit in hues of purple for the occasion.

Peter Mitchell, an accompanist for BBC2’s The Choir series featured on piano along with Hackney Singers’ repétiteur Andrew Storey on organ.

Tenor Paul Austin Kelly, an international opera star who has performed in productions in Italy, Malaysia and Singapore, joined the choir for Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.

Musical director Mark Shanahan said: “The chorus rose to the challenge. It can be quite challenging to do a text such as Bruckner’s Motets as parts are sung unaccompanied, so you have to be really brave. You can’t rely on old choral traditions. It was just beautiful.”

Audience member Trevor Horner, of Essex, said: “I loved the contrast between the bare, stripped-back beauty of the Bruckner as compared to the bold joyfulness of Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. The Ecce Sacerdos sent a shiver down my spine!”

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