"Confident and moving" performance - Herts Advertiser

St Albans Choral Society gave a "confident and moving rendition" of Cecilia McDowall's cantata Ave Maris Stella at its autumn concert on 15 October, according to reviewer Mary Cook in the Herts Advertiser newspaper.

The choir is celebrating the 60th birthday year of the leading British composer, with whom it has a special association.

The Herts Ad review praised the skill of the Society's music director, George Vass, in putting together a programme of McDowall, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn which played to the choir's strengths. Soprano soloist Marianne Cotterill sang with "touching simplicity" in the McDowall and "impressed with unforced high notes in the cadenza" of Haydn's Ave Regina in A.

The full review, under the heading "Society keeps its composure", can be read by opening the attached PDF.

At its forthcoming Christmas concert, on Sunday 11 December in Marlborough Road Methodist Church, the choir will give a performance of McDowall’s renowned cantata Christus Natus Est, which it first performed in 2002.

Vass commented that McDowall’s music has a simple beauty. “As a singer herself, she really knows how to write for voices and does so quite wonderfully,” he said. “In all the time I have conducted her music, I don’t think I’ve found a single singer who hasn’t found her music rewarding.”