CHORAL power of celebratory kind will ring out across the Furness peninsula this weekend as one of the region's finest marks a special event.

Ulverston Choral Society perform Mendelssohn's Elijah at Barrow's St Mary’s of Furness RC Church on Friday, May 17, as part of the revered choral ensemble's 175th birthday celebrations.

Under the baton of music director Jolyon Dodgson, Jonathan Millican sings the part of Elijah with soprano, Tracie Penwarden; mezzo, Anne-Marie Kerr; tenor, Robert Thompson and Martha Alban as The Youth, also in the soloist spotlight.

Organist will be Edward Taylor.

Ulverston Choral Society was founded in 1844. The choir's earliest recorded public concert was held in the upper room of the National School on August 15 conducted by Mr A B Salmon. Records also mention that in 1888 the society joined forces with Barrow and Grange societies for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.

Due to the Second World War it wasn't possible to celebrate the society's centenary concert in 1944. Instead, it was held on April 1, 1947 at Ulverston's Coronation Hall, conducted by Alfred Thompson. During previous years concerts performed included, among others, Israel in Egypt and Elijah (1922), Messiah (1923) and the Creation (1924). However, the postponed centenary concert staged in 1947 saw a return to Elijah with records referring to 'four good principals and an orchestra containing 18 Halle instrumentalists,' all under the leadership of Alfred Thompson.

Scores of notable performances down the decades include Messiah in 1979, a concert which celebrated the centenary of Handel's momentous work, as well as concerts in conjunction with other societies. Since 1977 UCS has given a carol concert at Christmas each year plus a shorter work, with a spring concert in May. Many glorious works have been performed during the choir's tuneful tenure by the likes of Bach, Handel, Schubert, Verdi and Beethoven.

Through the years, many musical directors have picked up the choir's baton, including most recently Heather Paynes, who having shared the joy of music and friendship with the 60-plus strong choir since her first concert as conductor at Christmas 2000, stepped down in 2016. Heather's husband and highly respected musician, Brian, retired as the choir's accompanist at the same time. Tickets at the door or on 01229-716321.