In 1976, the society celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Rolleston Music Festivals with a special concert in the Priory Church of St. Mary in Tutbury. The society was fortunate in securing the return of the Handelian Orchestra which was formed in 1968 to accompany oratorio performances, and it contained many well-known Midland’s musicians. The leader, Bella Holt was for many years a permanent member of the BBC Midland Orchestra. On the Orchestra’s first visit to the Rolleston Festival in 1972, it was conducted by Harold Gray who was the associate conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
The Anniversary Concert consited of three major works – Mozart’s Symphony No. 39 in Eb major, K543 and his Piano Concerto No. 22 in Eb major, K482 in which the soloist was the Society’s own accompanist, Hartley Mallinson. These two works were conducted by the Society’s assistant conductor, Ray Pearce. After the interval, the orchestra was joined by the Choral Society in a performance of Haydn’s Imperial “Nelson” Mass in D minor (Missa in angustiis) 1798. This work was conducted by David Yates, the Society’s founder and chief conductor. The four soloists were Elizabeth Cox (soprano), Wendy MacPherson (contralto), David Middleton (tenor) and John Taylor (bass).
At the end of the concert, the National Anthem was sung in an arrangement by the conductor, David Yates. The whole concert was recorded by Meridian Records in stereo and issued in cassette form. In addition, the Mass was issued on 12″ Stereo LPs.
The founder has now re-recorded the whole concert on two CDs.