Community choir Vocalise together with the Eclipse Trio presented their sixth Christmas concert for ‘The Friends’, delighting the audience at two sell-out performances in the parish church on Tuesday and Wednesday 13th and 14th of December.
The programme began with a selection of songs performed by the choir’s ‘choir within a choir’ ‘Vocalette’. There followed a nice mixture of solo performances by choir members, poetry readings and community singing accompanied by the wonderful sound of the church organ in full voice expertly played by Ian Jewitt.
The first half concluded with a Christmas-themed set by the Eclipse Trio whose close vocal harmonies and expert musicianship never fail to delight.
Amongst the many excellent solo performances, one that particularly caught the audience’s imagination was a solo rendition of “Silent Night” by retired local GP Dr. Penny Matthes whose musical talents took us all by surprise. After starting with a standard rendering of the first verse she gradually proceeded to transform this classic carol into a piece of classy jazz with impressive vocal riffs that had the audience enthralled. We weren’t expecting that!
After the break, we were entertained by the engaging antics of the men from “Lost Direction” who concluded with a nice rendition of the old Welsh folk song “All through the Night”.
The rest of the second half was comprised largely of performances by the full choir together with more solo pieces and poetry readings. The highlight of the evening though was undoubtedly the choir’s performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. This complex piece which includes some astonishingly high notes for the sopranos was faultlessly executed, filling the church with the sound of its beautiful harmonies and on Tuesday night receiving a standing ovation from the appreciative audience. This was undoubtedly a triumph not just for the singers but for their musical director Caroline Laver who has shaped this group of amateur singers from such small beginnings some six years ago into such a competent and professional choir giving entertainment and delight to so many.
What a lovely way to start the Christmas season!
As ever these performances could not have taken place without the voluntary efforts of so many people working in the background preparing posters and tickets, moving furniture, making sandwiches, setting up and clearing up etc. We are very grateful to everyone who helped to make the concerts such a great success.
A few video clips appear below: (Note if you have difficulty viewing these clips, try clicking the gear wheel after starting the video and selecting a lower resolution, e.g. 240. Use the Contact form to let me know if you have any problems)
(Sorry – missed the first few bars!)