Written by Julie Batten
As a choir we have had the privilege of singing in many historic and atmospheric venues – the wonderful Victoria Baths in Manchester, the ruins of a castle in Aberystwyth, a cave in Kendal. On Saturday 7th December we were back in our home town and the setting was the 19th century Victorian fish and poultry market in the Northern Quarter. Restored shop frontages from the 1930s recalled the origins of this important building.
Converted in the early 1980s as an artists’ co-operative, the Manchester Craft and Design Centre is now a not-for-profit limited company. For nearly 40 years the centre has championed contemporary designers and artisans. We were delighted to add some seasonal songs to the wonderful array of glittering jewellery, fabrics, ceramics, art and photographic displays.
On a busy pre-Christmas day, visitors were tempted in by the colourful artisans’ shops, the warm and friendly atmosphere and, we hope, by our voices carrying outside into Oak Street and beyond. Shoppers stopped to listen, relax and enjoy our selection of international songs – ancient, traditional and modern – with messages of love, peace and joy. The compact performance area concentrated our voices and they carried high into the Victorian rafters creating a wonderful sound. The audience was appreciative and we are sure they went away, as we all did, full of good cheer!
Photo by Mark McMullen
Photo by Keith Heaton