We knew we were going to be in for a musical treat on Friday. Despite the fact that there were four other musical events taking place on the Island and nearby (a testament to the musical talent in our community – how lucky are we?), there was already a queue extending all the way to the Church gate well before the doors opened at 7 o’clock – such is the appeal of this group of performers. And we were not disappointed.
The Eclipse Trio began the evening with a performance of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”. This quintessential swing number from The Twenties reflects the optimism and ‘joie de vivre’ of this short-lived period of hope and optimism that saw such a blossoming of musical talent and the birth of Jazz. Perfectly executed by this talented trio (Ian Jewitt – keyboard, Caroline Laver – vocals, James Shean – guitar) with their three-part vocal harmonies adding depth and colour it was the perfect opener, leaving us all with a warm glow.
Then, as if to shake us out of our nostalgia (and remind us that the best songs are not all from days gone by) the group performed John Legend’s “All of Me” (2013) – a song probably not familiar to many of the audience but which turned out to be a delightfully romantic love song with an edgy contemporary flavour. Decorated with their trademark vocal harmonies it was a nice contrast to the opening number.
Their programme continued with an enjoyable mix of old and new including Dolly Parton’s “I will always love you”, Rodgers and Hart’s “The Lady is a Tramp” plus “Hold back the river” by James Bay (2014) and Thinking out loud” by Ed Sheeran (2013).
If you would like to find out more about Eclipse you can visit their website at http://eclipselivemusic.co.uk/
Next up after an interval for refreshments was Vocalise. This community choir open to all is a tribute to its creator and musical director Caroline Laver who has built the choir from small beginnings into a nearly 70 strong group of amateur singers some with little or no previous experience of singing in a choir.
Their programme began with an arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Roger Emerson that has become a favourite in the group’s repertoire.
There followed arrangements of Lennon and McCartney’s “Blackbird” and Duke Ellington’s “I’m beginning to see the Light” delightfully performed by the group’s choir within a choir “Vocalette”. The final three pieces were medley performances by the whole choir featuring songs by Queen, Andrew Lloyd Webber and from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.
The sound from the choir in full voice filled the nave and reverberated around the aisles – a wonderful noise!- and led to a standing ovation from the appreciative audience with cries of “Encore!” for which we were treated to a reprise of the Queen medley with much foot-stamping and hand-clapping from the appreciative audience.
A wonderful evening!