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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA



previews, reviews, interviews, and recommendations with Steve Cooke







Review by Dr Joe Dawson

February 07: Notability mixed voice choir.

After making their mission statement in song with Batten’s ‘O sing joyfully,’ their eclectic taste in music became clear with juxtaposing Bruckner with Howard Goodall, and Orazio Vecchi with Bob Chilcott. Soloist David Bradshaw sang two baritone arias by Mozart.

Sets of Afro-American spirituals and a capella arrangements of British songs culminated in a final set of Richard Rodgers, Billy Joel and Duke Ellington. Piano accompaniments when called for were expertly played by Lesley Cavanagh.

Notability noticeably cooperated well as an ensemble, blending sympathetically and phrasing sensitively. The result was a sublime and focused sound.

February 14: Louise Taylor soprano and Jonathan Ellis piano (RNCM & Manchester University)

On Valentine’s Day itself, this experienced duo produced a varied and enjoyable programme. Songs by Roger Quilter intense piano pieces by Sir Arnold Bax. Then the pair celebrated Ivor Novello’s heyday, oozing nostalgia.

Finally, a Cole Porter medley lit up the otherwise gloomy weather outside. An Encore was demanded, and a riotous ‘I could have danced all night’ showed off the dynamic qualities of both performers to the full.

February 21: The sensational Greek violinist Dimitra Ananiadou (Universities of Greece, York and Manchester in violin and musicology) was partnered by pianist Richard Whalley,

Senior Lecturer in Composition at the University of Manchester (a York graduate and Harvard PhD).

Jules Massenet’s Meditation from ‘Thais’ and Maurice Ravel’s ‘Pièce en forme de Habanera’, were both sublime evocations. Beethoven’s monumental ‘Kreutzer’ sonata, great technique, passion and stamina in abundance. An electrifying performance.

February 28: Eccles Community Choir MD Angela Rowley accompanist John Stott. The opening numbers set the programme’s varied pattern, from the finger-clicking ‘It don’t mean a Thing’ by Duke Ellington, through a Shaker hymn to the majestic ‘Ombra mai fu’ by Handel.

A TV themes selection was followed by film favourites, and after a sidestep into opera, we moved to arrangements of popular standards.

The Rodgers & Hammerstein lyrics ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’ and ‘you’ll never walk alone’ summed up the experience. Everyone left humming, with a song in their heart.

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. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.



Preview by Steve Cooke

Mercury Prize-nominated indie favourite returns to Manchester with her sixth studio album as part of The Dream of Delphi Tour.

Catch Bat For Lashes at Aviva Studios as part of her first UK headline tour in five years – in celebration of upcoming album The Dream Of Delphi.

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Natasha Khan burst onto the music scene nearly 20 years ago as Bat For Lashes. In 2009, she released her second album Two Suns to critical acclaim, prompting comparisons to Björk and Kate Bush. With five studio albums under her belt, and two Ivor Novello Awards including Song of the Year 2019, Bat For Lashes is a true innovator of indie pop.

Now, Bat For Lashes returns with The Dream of Delphi, to be released on 31 May 2024. Named after her young daughter Delphi, this is Khan’s most personal album to date, reflecting on early motherhood across ten spiritual ‘song poems’. Drawing on ancient and devotional love alongside the more mundane aspects of childrearing, The Dream of Delphi invites listeners on a journey through Khan’s most deeply felt suite of music. Self-produced, this is the first release since signing a new deal with the acclaimed Mercury KX.

‘We’re thrilled to welcome Bat For Lashes to Aviva Studios for a visionary show blending vocals, movement and elements of performance art in the intimate surrounds of the Hall.’

27 JUN 2024



Standard Tickets £35, £30 & £25

For ages 14+ only. Under 18's must be accompanied by an adult aged 18+

Doors open at 7pm.

Accessibility features available for this event: Wheelchair Access



Saturday 16 March 2024 - Sunday 17 March 2024

Mads at the Theatre proudly present local entertainment

Entertainment by a local amateur dramatic society. Including "what's for Pudding" by David Tristram and "Mother figure" by Alan Ayckbourn plus their very own quiz by Graham Lattimer.

Raffle and refreshments.

£7 including refreshments

Phone: Tracy Richards 07886 229544

7.30pm Saturday and 2.30pm Sunday

Butterworth Hall, New Street, Milnrow, Rochdale OL16 3PQ


Tuesday 19 March 2024

Rochdale & District Camera Club

Tonight is T.B.A.

We meet every Tuesday at 8pm at Syke Methodist Church Hall.

You are more than welcome to come down to one of our club nights to see if you would enjoy joining the club

Phone Pete Williams 07967 969136


Syke Methodist Church Hall, Syke Road, Rochdale OL12 9TF


Tuesday 19 March 2024

Middleton Arts and Crafts Group

A social, friendly and informal arts and crafts group with a focus on wellbeing.

This group meet weekly on a Tuesday.

All people over the age of 18 are welcome.


Phone: Tom Ratcliffe 01706 392210

12pm - 3pm

Middleton Library, Long Street, Middleton M24 6DU


Wednesday 20 March 2024

Rochdale Photographic Society

Tonight's session - development evening. Annual print.

We meet every Wednesday at Rochdale Unitarian Church, starting at 7.30pm prompt (doors open from 7.15pm). The door is kept locked so please ring the bell on arrival.

If you would like to see the club for yourself and meet our members, you are welcome to attend as our guest for up to 3 weeks before committing to membership. Annual subscription is £36 for single or £46 for joint membership.

A weekly room fee of £2.50 is also payable on arrival at the meeting. Refreshments are 50p.

£2.50 for room fee

Doors open 7.15pm, 7.30pm start

Rochdale Unitarian Church, Clover Street, Rochdale OL12 6TP


Wednesday 20 March 2024     

Toad Lane Concerts - Rochdale's Weekly Music at Lunchtime

This week we have Telemann Baroque Ensemble

The concert series has been held at St Mary’s since 2001 and was granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2020… during the pandemic!

Running every Wednesday, Music at Lunchtime is a weekly live classical music concert series that has been going since the 1960s. The sessions were initially run at the old Rochdale Art Gallery by the local authority, but since May 2001 have been run by volunteer-enthusiasts and artistic director, Dr Joe Dawson.


Phone: Dr Joe Dawson 01706 648872

Doors open 12noon, concert starts 12.30pm - 1.30pm

St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane/St Mary's Gate, Rochdale OL16 1DZ




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