SHOREHAM Oratorio Choir is preparing to say goodbye to Tony Allen, the conductor and music director for many years.
Mr Allen, who first joined as a soloist, is to retire at the end of this year, after 35 years with the choir.
I am very confident that the choir will find someone they will all really enjoy working with – which is the fundamental purpose of choral singing, after allTony Allen, conductor and music director
Member Brian Hills said: “His first concert as conductor was the 1999 Christmas concert and as he has just celebrated his 70th birthday, it means that half of his life has been associated with the choir.
“Consequently, Tony has been a key person in the rich musical history of Shoreham and a huge debt of gratitude is owed by the many past and present members whom he has helped to inspire.
“This year therefore, will be a memorable one for both the choir and Tony, and one where the handover to a new music director is made.”
Two concerts have been planned to celebrate Mr Allen’s retirement.
The choir will perform Faure’s Requiem in St Mary de Haura Church on Good Friday, together with movements from Bach’s St John Passion and Handel’s Messiah, and the melodic Cantique de Jean Racine.
Then in October, the choir will host a visit from the Madrigalchor, its twinned choir from Elmshorn, Germany. The full programme is not yet finalised, but it will fittingly include Mozart’s Requiem – Mr Allen’s first solo performance back in 1980.
It is hoped Mr Allen’s final concert conducting the choir will be a special Epiphany concert in January next year, marking his retirement
Mr Allen said: “I am very confident that the choir will find someone they will all really enjoy working with – which is the fundamental purpose of choral singing, after all – and someone who will lead Shoreham Oratorio Choir to even greater things.”
Former members are encouraged to join existing and new members to make Mr Hill’s last concerts truly memorable.
The choir committee will now look for a new conductor/director of music to take the choir forward. Visit www.shoreham-oratorio-choir.co.uk for more information, including a role description and application form.