SINGERS and musicians have been hard at work preparing for one of the highlights of festive season which has delighted several generations.

The Saddleworth Male Voice Choir and augmented ladies chorus are rehearsing for their 57th consecutive performance of Handel’s Messiah which will be performed at Uppermill Civic Hall next Saturday.

Under their musical director Dorian Kelly, the choir performs as a chorus of 32 tenor and bass voices together with an augmented ladies chorus of 48 soprano and contralto voices who are recruited from local churches, musical societies and choirs.

Some members of the men’s choir have appeared in over 40 performances and a number of the ladies have sung Messiah with the choir for more than 30 years.

The choir recruits the services of professional soloists from the Royal Northern College of Music and will be accompanied by the Pennine Orchestra, which has played with the choir since 1982.

Each year, the dedication of all concerned adds a refreshing brightness to the performance of this wonderful Oratorio.

The people of Saddleworth and the choir’s widespread supporters eagerly await the annual performance of Messiah, and to many of them it reinforces the true meaning of Christmas and heralds the beginning of the Christmas festivities.

The Messiah performance will take place on Saturday, December 21 at 7pm in the Uppermill Civic Hall. Tickets priced at £16, £13 and £11 can be obtained from the Saddleworth Museum, Uppermill Post Office or David Davies on. 01457 873182.