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New musical director for Lynn Festival Chorus

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King’s Lynn Festival Chorus is looking forward to meeting face to face again and performing with a new musical director at the helm.

If lockdown restrictions are finally lifted on June 21, the Chorus hopes to take tentative steps back to normality.

A spokesman said: “ Although our activities of rehearsing and performing have been suspended for more than a year now, life moves on and changes are to be expected.”

Ben Horden, new musical director of the King's Lynn Festival Chorus
Ben Horden, new musical director of the King's Lynn Festival Chorus

One of the biggest post lockdown changes for the Chorus will be saying goodbye to its music director, Tom Appleton. Tom has stepped down from that role after ten years and his place is being taken by the assistant music director, Ben Horden.

The spokesman said: “Looking back we realise Tom has been with us for 10 years-it certainly didn’t feel like that-time passes quickly when you’re having a good time!

“In those ‘short’ years he’s brought us through learning and relearning most of the great and iconic works of the choral repertoire - Messiah, Creation, B minor Mass , St John Passion, Monteverdi Vespers, Rachmaninov Vespers and St Matthew Passion whose performance was scuppered by the pandemic. In addition, there were three European singing tours to Normandy, Belgium (including Menem Gate) and Dublin.

“Tom has also honed our appreciation of the pure sounds of high Renaissance music, and brought internationally acclaimed artistes to work with us like Dame Emma Kirkby, Stile Antico, and Voces8. We wish him and his family the very best for the future."

Ben Horden is an MA graduate of York University. An aspiring artist forging a diverse career as an organ recitalist, choral conductor and keyboardist, Ben has a passion for music of the 17th and 18th centuries.

As a solo artist, he has been involved with the internationally acclaimed York Early Festival and the London Handel Festival and will be recording his debut album of selected works of Buxtehude and Bach, as well as giving an organ recital at the King’s Lynn Festival in July.

The Chorus spokesman added: “During this last lockdown, Ben has supported and enthused the Festival Chorus with weekly rehearsals via Zoom, a challenge that he accepted and we have re-examined the finer points of Handel’s Messiah and a fairly recent reworking of Mozart’s Requiem. We look forward very much to his contribution to the life of the Chorus.”

If the lockdown is lifted and everything goes according to plan, the Chorus hopes to be able to sing in front of a live audience again on October 16 at St Nicholas Chapel.

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