MEET the talented musicians behind a choir set to make its long-anticipated return to the stage after nearly two years.

Furness Bach Choir, based in Ulverston, will be performing Handel’s Messiah on December 5 at Ulverston Parish Church after a long absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The choir, like all music ensembles, was ‘badly affected’ by the coronavirus crisis – and is hoping for a good turnout to attend its upcoming performance.

Musical director, Clare Eccles, has stepped into the breach as conductor to enable Furness Bach Choir to put on this concert.

Originally from Barrow, Clare studied music at Leeds University and in Cologne, Germany before completing a Master's degree in vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

She is now a singing teacher, based in Ulverston.

The choir’s soprano soloists include: Cathy Styles and Naomi Marczak. Both Cathy and Naomi are members of Furness Bach Choir and although neither of them are professional singers they are more than able to perform as soloists in major choral works such as Messiah.

Mezzo-soprano soloist Amy Holyland is currently studying opera at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has also gained awards from the Royal Academy of Music as an outstanding performer.

The choir’s tenor soloist: Cameron Mitchell, from Carlisle, is currently studying for a Master's degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, having previously studied at the Royal Academy of Music.

Finally, the group’s bass soloist, Ron Eadington, is a long-standing member of Furness Bach Choir and is also well-known as a soloist in numerous operas in the area.

Alison Bolt, of Furness Bach Choir, said: “Like all music ensembles, Furness Bach Choir was badly affected by lockdown over the past couple of years; however, we are now at last able to put on a concert.

“We will be performing probably the best-loved of all choral works, Handel's Messiah, on Sunday, December 5 in Ulverston Parish Church.

“We felt that this would be a suitably uplifting work to perform, especially in the run up to Christmas, and we are hoping for a good audience.”

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available from Sutton's Bookshop in Ulverston or by phoning Alison on 01229 837680.

The venue is only able to accommodate 140 people in the audience, so it is advisable to book in advance to ensure admittance.

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, however, once those have gone, people will have to be turned away.