Clarion Newsletter


Category – Performance


The Arion's annual Christmas Cracker took place at Colne Muni on Saturday afternoon Dec 17th and a good time was had by all. Sadly, due to circumstances beyond our control, ther was no children's choir this year, but this was made up for by the surprise appearance of SEAN RUANE, the Operatic tenor who hails from Rossendale and is 'The voice of English Cricket'  - Sean sings as the English team take the field for test matches. The 2nd Rossendale Scout Band , under the charismatic leadership of Graham Helm, were their usual entertaining selves - their version of 'The 12 Days of Christmas' was a particular high spot - and the audience were encouraged to participate, particularly in the 'Snaewaltzer' and communal carols. The Arion were also on top form,led for the last time in their Christmas Concert by Frank Smith, and sang a mixture of traditional and modern Christmas pieces, including the ever popular 'Joseph's Carol' and the large audience were sent home happy.


At the Arion's annual Celebrity Concert on Saturday 17th October at St Thomas' Church, Barrowford, a small but enthusiastic audience were treated to an astonishing display of virtuosity and musicianship by accordion player THOM HARDAKER.

Thom provided an eclectic selection of music varying from a Bach Toccata and Fugue when he made his instrument sound like a church organ, through Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the A Train', and ending with a dizzying rendition of operatic favourite 'Largo al Factotum'. Some of the cognescenti in the audience thought Tom might have played 'Flight of the Bumble Bee', such was his virtuosity, but perhaps next time??

The choir also acquitted itself well in the flattering acoustic of St Thomas' also giving a wide selection of music varying from J S Bach's 'In Exultation' at one end of the musical spectrum to a seletion from Lionel Bart's 'Oliver' at the other.

If, in the future, you hear that Thom Hardaker is playing in your vicinity -very possible as he lives just over the border in Sutton-in Craven- please don't miss him, he is pure talent.

ASDA and the 2013 Christmas Cracker

CRACKER PROGRAMME 2013 FINAL VERSION The choir completed two engagements on one memorable day, Saturday 14th December 2013. Read on for a review of the events of the day by Duncan Read, together with a photograph of the choir in action at ASDA

Presentation to Duncan Read

The Geoffrey Sutton Memorial Trophy for 2014 was presented to Duncan Read for his work in compiling the ‘Clarion’, the choir’s quarterly newsletter, and for his work in publicising the choir and in the field of new member recruitment. The presentation was made by the Choir’s Musical Director, 

Carols at Sainsbury’s Colne

The choir will sing well known carols and Christmas songs at Sainsburys Colne Supermarket on MONDAY 16TH DECEMBER at 7.15pm. All friends, supporters and anyone who happens to be in the area are welcome to join in.

Long Service Awards at Arion Annual Dinner

At the choir Annual Dinner, held on Saturday 23rd November at the Ace Centre, Nelson, four choir members were presented with long service momentos

Wilfred Byrne and James Tattersall were presented with engraved tankards recognising 40 years service, and Steve Clayton and Harry Procter were presented with framed certificates recognising 30 years service.

Music in May with the Ardenettes 1

This concert took place on Saturday 11th May, and there follows a review by Duncan Read

It was no matter that the weather outside was very un-Spring like last Saturday, as the Arion’s guests the Ardenettes, brought their own sunshine into St Thomas’ church Barrowford for the Music in May concert. The trio of girls Jade Brett soprano, Jessica Balderstone mezzo and Laura Schofield contralto moved effortlessly from one musical style to another. They did modern covers like Rolling in the Deep by Adele and Run made famous by Leona Lewis on X factor but changed for songs from the shows like Don’t rain on my Parade sung by Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl. In the second half they slipped into classical mode for the lively English madrigal by Thomas Weelkes the Nightingale. At times there was an American swing sound and then an up to the minute pop song, a real fusion of music from different times and genres. There are no taboos with this group, anything goes and the result is fun and likely to appeal to a younger audience. They were sandwiched in both halves by the Arion who contrasted with modern classics such as the beautiful Benedictus from The Armed Man by Carl Jenkins and the traditional love song Fain Would I Change that Note by Vaughan Williams. It is apparent that the Arion excel when they are singing the songs they love and cherish. Choir and guests came together for the traditional folk song Bobby Shafto where the girls took the role of lamenting their lost love. They were thanked by conductor Frank Smith and presented with bouquets of flowers.

Festive Concert at Townley Hall

The Arion are singing Christmas music in the splendid surroundings of Towneley Hall. Guests will be greeted with a glass of mulled wine, and during the concert, guests will have the opportunity to join the choir in singing popular carols and other Christmas pieces. There will be a cash bar at the interval.

For further information and to book for this event, please contact the Towneley Hall Box office on 01282 477130

Annual Christmas Cracker

The choir are holding their annual Christmas concert at Colne Muni on Saturday 15th December at 7.30 pm.  guest artists are the “nd Rossendale Scout Band and the Arden Youth Choir

As well as your favourite Christmas music from the Brass band and the Arden Youth Choir and the Arion, you will have the opportunity to join in some of your favourite carols. Tickets  price £7.50 are still available from the Muni Box Office 01282 661234  Don’t miss this opportunity for a  wonderful pre-Christmas night out.

Men Of Pendle Concert

The ‘Men of Pendle’ concert at Colne Muni was a tremendous success. The large choir, under the combined batons of David Wilkinson, Frank Smith and Matthew Leedam, gelled together and sang as if they had been doing it for years, instead of just three rehearsals. The guest soloist, the distinguished English tenor Adrian Thompson, sang a wide variety of music with great beauty of tone and wonderful artistry and showed why he is so highly regarded on the international music scene.

David Wilkinson, organiser of the concert and conductor of Pendle Youth Choir wites as follows
I am writing to thank you for the sterling singing and support at yesterday’s concert. To have people singing from across every generation in our community was a wonderful sight and sound.
Frank knows that I hold his music making in the highest esteem and being near it again over the last few weeks has been a great pleasure to me personally.

The alchemy needed to weld amateur “ butchers, bakers and candlestick makers ” into something chorally wonderful is something very magical that is part of our English heritage for the last few centuries of which yesterday was another part.

It was good to be there.

I feel it not inappropriate to add that Adrian and Judy despite my insistance would not take a penny piece for thier day’s efforts in Pendle.Adrianwould like his fee/expences to help a child/children who might otherwise struggle to go on our next trip to sing for half an hour in Canterbury Cathedral then The Madeleine(Paris) andChartres. As you all know, just like yesterday, such things are life enriching . I shall enact his wishes and your efforts for us will subsidise the whole venture.

We are grateful for this but even more for the experience of yesterday.

We thank you and wish you well until we meet together again at some time in the future.


Your sincerely

David and Pendle Youth Choir.

Joint Concert with Nelson Brass Band

BRASS AND VOICESNelson Arion are proud to announce that they are to perform a joint concert at Christ Church Nelson on Saturday 22nd June 2013.

This will be the first time in living memory that these two long established  musical organisations (both have been in existance for more than 125 years) have shared the concert platform and we are all looking forward to an evening of splendid music making.  Click on the link at the beginning of this post to get details of ticket prices and where to get them.


Rehearsals are now well under way for this prestigious concert to be held on Sunday Afternoon 9th September 2012. As well as The Arion, the all male voice concert will include Colne Orpheus, Pendle Youth Choir, Invited Guest Singers and the distinguished English tenor ADRIAN THOMPSON.

This concert should prove a feast of high class male voice singing, if rehearsals are anything to go by, and the audience will be treated to many male voice classics, such as ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, ‘Softly as I Leave You’ and many more.

Tickets, modestly priced at £7.50 are available from The Muni Box Office 01282 661234.