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The Story so far ...

In June 2004 Mary Priddle, an experienced chorister, discussed with friends the potential for a mixed-voice choir in the Torrevieja area. Mary had been a regular patron of concerts by the male-voice Torrevieja Barbershop Harmonisers, and had noted their improved performance under the directorship of the newly-appointed Chas Smith. Contact was made with Chas, who responded very favourably towards the prospect of taking on the role of Musical Director for the choir.

Further discussion led to a concensus that the new choir, although ‘serious’ about the quality of its performance, should be a ‘fun’ choir with a wide and international repertoire embracing all types of quality vocal music. Since the outset, several rehearsal venues have been used but today the regular venue is the Bar El Paraiso, Urb. Jardin del Mar (close to Carrefour), Torrevieja. Fridays 9.30 to 12 noon.

Sue Trick, a brilliant piano accompanist and accomplished musician who had recently retired from her role as Director of a British School of Music, became the accompanist for the choir. This while continuing to teach music at a local school.

Next; Mary and friends brain-stormed for a name for the choir and the name ‘Crescendo’ was the runaway favourite! It fell to Chas to design our dramatic logo depicting a treble clef with a rainbow of notes bursting into ‘a crescendo’ from it. Later this theme was expanded into a rainbow of different coloured scarves worn by the ladies with black dresses, rainbow-hued bow ties worn by the men with white shirts and black trousers, and a concert music-stand banner bearing the logo, made by Emma Allamand, a Choir Alto. The final essential was achieved with the attendance of no fewer than 34 potential choristers of both genders at the inaugural meeting. A committee was formed under the Chairmanship of Mary Priddle and the Crescendo International Choir – subtitled, Coral Internacional Crescendo – was born!

Since then, the Choir, under the Directorship of Chas Smith, continued to grow in numbers, prestige and ability and looked forward to a future bright with promise. As we progressed we saw the Choir grow to over 60 members in 2009 and the committee started to discuss the necessity of limiting new membership, allowing new members only to maintain balance within the choir. March 2009 saw the launch of our new costumes thanks to the generous support of the Medsea group. Our ladies look absolutely wonderful in their shimmering red jackets and the men compliment this with their black shirts and red bow ties.

In June 2011 with much sadness, the members of the chorus bade their farewells to Chas Smith who, from nothing, had built the choir up to such a wonderful crescendo. It took a great deal of soul- searching for him to make his decision not only to retire from Crescendo, but also to plan his return to the UK.

Sixto Herrero (Herrero being Spanish for Smith!) came to the choir with great qualifications and much enthusiasm and everyone looked forward to having new material added to the existing repertoire. Accompanying Sixto as trainee conductor was Irene Oliva who was equally enthusiastic as well as being musically well-qualified. When Sixto was forced to resign due to pressures of work, his position was taken over by Irene who rose to the challenge of being the choir’s Musical Director, continuing to build up the choir’s growing repertoire with much of the music expertly arranged by her. She is now supported by the talented Toni Guillen who besides being the accompanist also composes and arranges music for the choir.



Although the music began as a hobby, Irene decided to realize higher music studies to become a music teacher.
She has continued her musical training taking several courses on various musical subjects, such as vocal technique, music education and music therapy.

Irene has composed several musical works, some of which have been released, such as Meditación (Meditation), a modal piece for piano, and El Gato con botas (Puss in boots), a musical tale for chamber ensemble.

Irene has sung with different vocal groups. She started to sing in the children's choir at the school where she studied, and afterwards sang in several mixed choirs.

At present, she works as a music teacher and conducts Crescendo International Choir.


Toni Guillen gained a degree in composition at the High Conservatory of Music of Murcia, studying under Sixto Herrero. Currently, he studies harpsichord at the same conservatory with Javier Artigas. He has much experience as an accompanist, pianist and harpsichordist, and he has accompanied many soloists and choirs e.g. Vivace, Gilbert & Sullivan Society and Crescendo. He also has experience working with chamber groups.

Recently, he has studied Baroque performing on pianoforte and harpsichord in the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He has studied harpsichord and composition on an International Course of Music at Daroca, Zaragoza, Spain under Oliver Beaumont specialist in harpsichord at Paris Conservatory.

Three years ago an opera composed by Tony “El Letargo de la Memoria” was performed at the Contemporary Scenic Arts Centre in Murcia. Also a work for bands was recently performed in the city of Villena (Alicante). Several chamber pieces have been performed in a variety of concert halls in Alicante, Murcia and Germany. As harpsichordist he has played on Spanish National Radio on an International Day of Music.

Tony offers lessons on piano and music theory in his home and can be contacted on 655803296.