Choral Workshop and Informal Concert 2012 directed by Jonathan Watts
Type: Choral Workshop
Date: Saturday 23 June 2012

Choral Workshop Day and Informal Concert: Handel Messiah

Directed by Jonathan Watts
Piano accompanist Peter Adcock
Soprano Ruth Jenkins
Mezzo Soprano Helen Evora


Shaldon Festival took at least three risks this year with their very popular day of choral singing:
Firstly in the choice of choral work. Handel’s Messiah is probably the most sung of all choral works and so could it attract enough singers, of all voices, to commit themselves to a day’s singing workshop. Secondly, the choice of Musical Director. It has been a practice for the Festival to invite national, or international, figures to guide the choir through the day. Jonathan Wattts is a Devon based musician. He is extremely well known on the local music scene and especially as Music Director of the Dartington Community Choir. Thirdly, the choice of just two soloists- soprano and alto. No bass or counter-tenor. It is gratifying to report that the day was a resounding success, with all three risks providing that extra edge, adding quite considerably to the overall enjoyment of the workshop and the well-attended evening performance.

Over 150 singers signed up for the day with feedback comments which included:
‘I think it was one of the best days I have enjoyed. Please ask Jonathan back again. I found him charismatic and a joy to work with’
‘It was hard work, but worth it’

The two experienced soloists, Ruth Jenkins (soprano) and Helen Evora (mezzo soprano), captivated their audience with both their charm and the clarity of their singing. They also took on the solos of the counter tenor with total confidence, and captured the mood and thought of the famously resounding words. Together with the well- balanced choir in excellent voice this made for a most memorable occasion

The choral day is a strong feature of the Shaldon Festival, attracting people from many parts of the country. An important part of the day is the extended lunch break when the majority of members flood the village for refreshment and just bask in the many delights that the village has to offer. Long may it continue.

Leon Winston

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.