The highly acclaimed score for the Chester Mystery Plays was resurrected in a festival which brought together 400 singers from University Choirs across the country.

Choirs from as far as Canterbury and Winchester, York and Liverpool descended upon he city of Chester to perform the music from the recently highly acclaimed Chester Mystery Plays. Visitors from across the country had been preparing the score by Matt Baker as well as brining some pieces of their own to perform in a sell out concert in Chester Cathedral in March this year. The concert was preceded by a large scale performance on the world famous Rows in Chester Centre of the newly composed Chester Hosannah, accompanied by Chester’s Karamba Samba Band and introduced by Chester’s Town Crier.

Some feedback from the Choir Festival Weekend in Chester:

Thank you so much for all your work, enthusiasm and energy which made the Cathedrals Group Choirs Festival such a success. Combining the Mystery Players and Choirs was such a brilliant idea and made for an amazing Festival and evening. It was also wonderful that you ensured that University Choirs of very different sizes were made to feel so welcome and engaged and this was especially true of the smallest choirs.

We also know that many of the students who participated would never have had the opportunity to be involved in such an evening without your dedication and patience.

It was brilliant!
Pam Tatlow, Cathedrals Group 

Although I’ve always been terrifically impressed by your performances , Saturday evening really took the congratulatory biscuit : how you managed to write it, conduct it, bring together all the choirs and voices is a mystery…… Genius ? Divine inspiration ? Cabernet Sauvignon ?

There were endless audience plaudits so this is just a small representation of the universal feeling of being blown away. The young musicians deserve a very special mention - especially the percussionists. We’re SO lucky to have you all in and around Chester. Is there a recording anywhere ? The Lords Payer and Let not My Soul were incredible.
Jeannie France-Hayhurst, former High Sheriff of Chester

What a triumph last night was; very many congratulations, it really was brilliant. I hope you were able to absorb at least some of the praise from the audience. Everyone absolutely loved it.
Jo Sykes DL, former chair Chester Mystery Plays

What a wonderful weekend ! You must be over the moon and deservedly so !
Thank you for letting us sing your beautiful music once again, a real privilege,and what a sound -with all those voices- the Dean waxed lyrical this morning ! I don’t think he intended to stay but he stood all through and said how marvellous it was. What was so nice was that you and the band ,which was superb, could be seen, and made up, in some way, for your invisibility during the Plays.

There were many positive comments at church this morning so thank you, once again for all your efforts in putting together such a mammoth undertaking. Everything fitted in so well and the whole evening went off perfectly. Very well done and give yourself a big pat(s) on the back.
Jennifer Jackson, Chester Mystery Plays Board

The reception you got at the end of last night’s concert was richly deserved. Your initial vision for the event was inspired and then the execution of it nothing short of miraculous. The experience you created for audience and performers alike was superb and unforgettable.

The range of music and singing we heard from the visiting choirs was wonderfully varied and impressive but it was your Mysteries Suite that was the real star of the show, holding everything together whilst allowing each choir their moment to shine. The chance to sing your music again, in its entirety (and in the nave!) was one I will always treasure - the thrill of Great God Gracious with the organ and band was undiminished.

I know it couldn’t have happened without the amazing team you had around you but as the mastermind you really do deserve the plaudits.

Just one query - Birmingham - it was like watching a conducting masterclass - amazing but how come they didn’t have their own conductor? You surely must have had more time to rehearse with them than yesterday in the cathedral? It looked like a fiendish piece to conduct and sounded terrific.
Moira Reid, member of the Chester Mystery Plays Chorus

And everyone really enjoyed it. Good to hear the other choirs. Chester were good. Bravery award to Liverpool Hope - seven singers, and a conductor who has just started and can’t read music.
Chris Oleshko, member of the Chester Mystery Plays Chorus

Safely home - and a Chester fridge magnet in pride of place in our kitchen to prove it wasn’t all just a dream state involving uplifting music-making in beautiful spaces. We really did it. Thanks, Matt; you made lifetime memories this weekend.
Chris Price, Canterbury Christ Church University

Thank you Matt and everyone for a great weekend of music - it was an absolute joy to be part of.
John Peters, Birmingham Newman University

It was amazing to play alongside you all! What a talented group of choirs and leaders! Safe journey home.
Belinda, Karamba Samba Band 

Thank you Matt for what’s been such a wonderful weekend in so many ways - we’ve enjoyed it enormously! Congratulations to everyone on such fine performances! And thanks to Chris for steering the ship this morning. Looking forward to meeting again! Matt Lazenby, Leeds Trinity University 

We had a wonderful time and a great experience for all the students! Thanks Matt! The whole event was extraordinary.
John Hancorn, Chichester University

It was a great honour and a real pleasure to be part of this, and to be able to play and listen to your beautiful music.
Elzbieta Luczac, member of the orchestra 

Hi Matt. It's a shame you didn't join the Chester Mystery Plays Chorus and Actors WhatsApp group as you are missing out on all the wonderful comments after Saturday. For me, it was truly a privilege to participate in such an amazing event with extremely talented people. Huge respect to you for creating such a relaxed and inclusive event that resulted in a really wonderful performance. Has to be up there as one of the most enjoyable evenings I've ever had. Thank you for everything you have done over such a long time that culminated in the event. The audience really enjoyed it too!
Sarah Caitlin, Chester Mystery Plays Chorus 

I enjoyed the performance - well done for orchestrating a magnificent event
David Dale, Audience Member 

Ahh totally loved it tonight ! What a fabulous evening of real variety and surprises. All those choirs had such charmingly different personalities it was a joy and so uplifting to hear all that rich mystery plays music again !! What a huge thing to pull off again!!)
Claire Smith, Audience Member