Choirs in harmony for their charity concert

Portadown Ladies and Male Voice Choir at 'Carols from St Mark's', with guests - from left Richard Campbell, accompanist, Mark Tinny, tenor and Drew Rowan, flautist, plus conductor Gordon Speers. INPT50
Portadown Ladies and Male Voice Choir at 'Carols from St Mark's', with guests - from left Richard Campbell, accompanist, Mark Tinny, tenor and Drew Rowan, flautist, plus conductor Gordon Speers. INPT50

St Mark’s Church of Ireland was filled to capacity recently for the annual charity concert combining Portadown Male Voice and Ladies Choirs, with their special guest artistes.

The main guest, Fr Martin O’Hagan (tenor) of ‘The Priests’ group, was unable to make it owing the illness, and Mark Tinny (also a tenor) stepped in at the 11th hour to fill the void.

Said Gordon Speers, conductor of both choirs, “Thankfully, Mark – who has several concerts and broadcasts to his credit – has been tenor soloist in several performances of Handel’s Messiah to his credit – from which Fr Martin had planned to sing. So, we didn’t have to change the programme, including the choir-soloist rendition of ‘O Holy Night’. Fr Martin’s shoes are difficult ones to fill, but Mark managed admirably.”

Accompanist was, as ever, Richard Campbell, who has officiated at the St Mark’s Walker organ since the series of concerts started in the 1990s, and he had his own traditional solo interlude.

Flautist was Portadown-born Drew Rowan, who accompanied the choirs for the special arrangement of ‘Silent Night’, which was one of the many highlights of the night. And among the carols sung by the choirs were John Rutter’s ‘Angels Carol’ and ‘Nativity Carols’, plus the perennial favourite ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, arranged by Rutter.

The audience joined in the singing of several traditional carols and the evening raised a substantial sum for the chosen charities – Buddy Bear and the Heartbeat Trust.

It brings to around £120,000 the amount of money raised by the ‘Carols From St Mark’s’ series over the years.