Rochdale What’s On: November 9

WHAT’S ON: Oldham Community Choir with conductor Jonathan Gibson and accompanist J Edward Rigg performed at Toad Lane Concerts in October

By Dr Joe Dawson

Toad Lane Concerts – songsters galore

October resounded with songsters; all making a welcome post-Covid return. All praising the fabulous acoustic of St Mary’s in the Baum for singers. All celebrating a wealth of British songs.

October 5: Prize-winning and maturing soprano Lucy Farrimond is currently studying for a master’s at the RNCM and recently made her live BBC Proms Solo Debut in Haydn’s ‘The Creation’.

Duo partner pianist Duncan Glenday has performed over 300 concerts throughout the UK and over 20 piano concertos since graduating first-class from the joint degree course of the RNCM and Manchester University where he now teaches.

DUO PEFORMANCE: Soprano Lucy Farrimond with pianist Duncan Glenday

Their inspiring recital included twentieth century British gems from Quilter, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, and Eric Coates, plus Britten and his teacher, Frank Bridge.

October 12: Oldham Community Choir with conductor Jonathan Gibson and accompanist J Edward Rigg was originally formed in 1985. They began their varied concert with ‘Bring me sunshine.’ Soloists emerged from the mixed voice choir. The final set concluded with the foot-tapping anthem When the Saints go marching in. Everyone could leave humming their own favourite ray of sunshine.

FIRST-RATE MUSICIANS: John Powell and Elin Rees

October 19: John Powell baritone (Cambridge University) was born in London, then worked for many years at Chetham’s, teaching and running the school’s choirs, the National Youth Choir and others and now teaches privately. He also sang with the BBC Singers and with his own chamber group, the John Powell Singers (with whom he has broadcast nearly 200 times). He continues as musical director of several choirs. His accompanist, Elin Rees graduated with a master’s in piano from the RNCM and was also organ scholar at St Ann’s, Manchester.

These two first-rate musicians brought to life song cycles by Vaughan Williams and Butterworth, and songs by Finzi as fresh and relevant as ever.

SOPRANO AND PIANIST: Freda Farnworth and Edward Rigg

October 26: Freda Farnworth soprano (London’s Guildhall) and accompanist J Edward Rigg are two bastions of the borough’s music scene. They admirably summed up this multitude of returning songsters. Freda is well-known as a soloist, teacher, conductor, and producer; her theme via various composers exemplified this vocal month: ‘The Music’s always there with you.’

The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.


SPOOKY FUN: There were many tricks and treats at Scarefest at Middleton’s Lodge Mill

Middleton Scarefest – a scream of a night

By Katie Haigh

Wanting a bit of spooky fun this year but somewhere not too far away I decided to attend Middleton Scarefest with my son at Lodge Mill in Middleton. An old mill, with its own rustic charms styled out with Halloween decor and a glowing ambiance.

We were given safety instructions by a ghostly figure and guided down a dark corridor, faced with a spider’s lair giving us the creepy-crawlies. Then up a set of stairs – at the top lay a spooky scene – a rustic forest vibe. We were greeted by the guardian of the forest played by Mike Higgs issuing warnings that the Middleton witch may curse us if we approach her.

UNMISSABLE EVENT: Katie Haigh experienced chills and thrills at Scarefest

Throughout the woods, lay creatures of darkness, ghost children, witches, and werewolves – many jumps and scares were had. At the end of the path, we found a lost back-packer who guided us to safety, but she wasn’t quite so lucky.

Once we escaped, we were greeted by a room of local stalls with friendly sellers purveying some tricks and treats. Finally, back down to the main room to enjoy some great food and drink – listening others’ screams of terror and laughter.

A night not to be missed – look out for next year’s Scarefest!


Thurs, Nov 10

Friends of Rochdale Art Gallery

Clarice Cliff – Genius or just in the right place at the right time?

Pat Osborne, a member of the Cruise Lecturers Association, discusses Clarice Cliff and the work of this remarkable designer, whose brightly coloured, iconoclastic domestic ceramics are still extremely popular and highly collectable

FRAG runs on the second Thursday of every month at Touchstones

Time: Refreshments from 1pm, guest speaker from 1.30pm – 2.30pm

Cost: Members £3, Non-members £4 (no booking required – pay on the day)

Phone: Jenny Buckley (Chair, FRAG) 01706 358686

Visit the website HERE for more information.

Address: Touchstones Rochdale, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AQ


Fri, Nov 11

Mum’s The Word

The mother of all shows. The stuff nobody tells you about parenthood…until it’s too late.

This witty entertaining show which is set to tour the UK stars Eastenders Gemma Bissix, the hilarious Sarah Dearlove from Housewives on Holiday and introducing the talented Amy Ambrose.

Whether it’s leaving the house without your bra, crying in the supermarket aisles for no reason, or secretly thinking you had given birth to E.T. You won’t feel alone when listening to these women portray the ‘beauty’ of bringing new life into the world… or forgetting where they left it.

An uplifting, honest, heart-warming show that will have you both roaring with laughter and reaching for the tissues. Mum’s The Word takes you on an emotional ride through pregnancy pitfalls to teenage tantrums.

If you’re a mum-to-be, about to have your first grandchild or even the cat’s mother in need of a witty romp through the trials and tribulations of parental life, then this is the show for you.

For all the men who want to know what women want – please take your seats.

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: Tickets from £25

Phone: Middleton Arena 0300 303 8633

Visit the website HERE for information and tickets.

Address: Middleton Arena, LCpl Joel Halliwell VC Way, Middleton M24 1AG

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