Choir Concert for Christian Aid 2015

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If you wanted musical entertainment on an arresting scale, then Christ Church, Longridge was certainly the place to be on the evening of April 18th for their Annual Concert for Christian aid. A change to the usual ‘Music in the Afternoon’ series of concerts was made in order to welcome their special guests, the Gloucestershire Police Male Voice Choir.

The ‘30 strong’ serving and retired police officers, ably trained and directed by George Taylor, did not disappoint the sell-out audience. They offered a varied program of songs from the shows, popular classics and traditional choral arrangements. Choir Concert for Christian Aid 2015

They started their ‘show’ in a true Cole Porter-style ‘Opening Number’ followed by a bold rendition of ‘With Cat- like Tread’ from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. From Les Miserables to Lennon and McCartney, they continued to demonstrate their carefully prepared ensemble ability. Soloist Albert England ‘starred’ in the Russian Traditional song, ‘Kalinka’, by performing with conviction and emotion, delighting the audience with his falsetto voice. Performances of songs such as ‘What a wonderful World’ demonstrated clear diction and strong harmonies. The first half concluded with a most expressive rendition of Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’. Arranged by Allan Simons, this performance quite simply blew the audience away – who by now were standing in warm appreciation.      More Pics

Compere Roger Scriven, in his own witty way, introduced the various items and interspersed an interesting insight into policing in Gloucestershire – or so everyone thought – until he delivered his ‘punch lines’!

The second half opened in Wagnerian style with the ‘Roman War Song’ followed by more traditional and popular songs. Their gentle rendition of the ‘The Rose’ was kindly dedicated to the concert organiser, whilst their full sounding, rich harmonies in Arwel Hughes’ arrangement of ‘Cwm Rhonda’ were some of the most poignant of the evening.

Special tribute must be paid to the choir’s accompanist Lucas Bailey, an extremely talented young man, who demonstrated his amazing ability not only in his enthusiastic competent accompanying, but in his solo piano performances. Dave Brubeck’s ‘Blue Rondo a la Turk’ and Einaudi’s ‘Divenire’ were enthralling to say the least. His fantastic performance of ‘River Boogie’ was nothing less than virtuosic and the great surprise of the night was his rhythmical and energetic tap dance. ‘Unaccompanied Number’– the evening’s best kept secret –brought both audience and choir to their feet with thoroughly well deserved cheers and rapturous applause.

As if that was not enough, the choir performed an encore of a lively version of ‘This Old Man’, affectionately dedicated to their hard working musical director. Their whole performance – notably all sung from memory – was presented with obvious enjoyment, attention, commitment and above all, a great sense of fun.

In addition, all proceeds of ticket sales and donations amounting to £1,081 will go to support the ongoing work of Christian Aid.

Music in The Afternoon (edition 10) continues on Sunday September 6th at 2.30pm with a concert featuring Jane Pembleton-Smythe (flute) and Fennella Howarth-Head (piano).

Carol Rose

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