The vocal trio Eclipse and our community choir Vocalise delivered the perfect antidote to a day of leaden skies and unremitting rain with an uplifting performance of musical delights.
Eclipse presented an eclectic selection of feel-good songs spanning the years from the 1930’s with Rodgers and Hart’s show tune “The Lady is a Tramp” to John Legend’s popular 2013 love song “All of Me”.
This talented and genial trio like a fine wine just go on getting better as time goes by. Caroline Laver’s lovely voice, sultry, smoky and seductive in the lower registers, floats effortlessly up to the highest notes with ease. Accompanied by James Shean’s crisp guitar-playing and the multi-talented Ian Jewitt on keyboard, both of whom also contribute to the group’s tight vocal harmonies, they are sheer musical enchantment.
Bursting onto the scene after Eclipse’s set came a group of ‘Merseamen’ (self-styled “The Lost Direction”) swaggering down the aisle regaled in oilskins and sou’westers to perform an amusing song about the shipping forecast with much clever wordplay about Dogger, Fisher and German Bight. Next they gave us a rendering of Cole Porter’s comic song from “Kiss Me Kate!” – “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” – and finished with a spirited performance of “There is Nothing Like a Dame” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific”. It was a light-hearted medley, brilliantly sung and choreographed and amazingly included three costume changes. (Where did they get those sailor’s hats?)
After the interval it was the turn of Vocalise to entertain. Trained and conducted by Caroline Laver this large community choir of amateur singers gave a polished and professional performance of a varied and enjoyable selection of songs. In full voice their vocal harmonies reverberated wonderfully around the ancient walls of our aged church.
Starting with what has become something of a signature piece for the choir – a lovely arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s enigmatic “Hallelujah” – the first set also comprised a selection of well-known songs from The Carpenters, Abba, The Beach Boys and Elton John.
Next, in contrast to the popular and familiar tunes of their opening set, “Vocalette”, the choir’s ‘choir within a choir’, performed an unaccompanied set comprising two quaint and little-known songs from Shakespeare plays – “There was a lover and his lass” (“As You Like It”) and “Tell me where is fancy bred” ( “The Merchant of Venice”) (I Googled them – Just saying!) – and the traditional American gospel song “Down in the River to Pray”. Beautifully sung in harmony by these talented ladies and gentleman their performance demonstrated a level of musical virtuosity remarkable for these part-time singers.
The concert concluded with the full choir performing Karl Jenkins’ melodious Adiemus and the rousing hippie anthem “Aquarius”.
As usual this enjoyable and successful event was not only a credit to the performers but also to their tireless producer Gill Laver and to the armies of helpers who assisted with catering, furniture removal and clearing up.
A few video clips are provided below. Enjoy!
Eclipse: Because You Loved Me:
Lost Direction: The Shipping Forecast Song
Vocalette There Was a Lover: