Music in the Afternoon for Christian Aid 2019
Rossendale Ladies Choir – ‘A Great Sister Act!’
Christ Church welcomed over 30 members of the Rossendale Ladies Choir for their 16th edition of Music in the Afternoon on Sunday May 12th. Having delighted audiences for over 40 years in Concerts, Festivals and various fund-raising events both at home and abroad, they did not disappoint those who gathered to hear their singing and help support Christian Aid Week.
Under the enthusiastic leadership and training of Matthew Thomas and stylish accompaniments of David Carlston Williams, the ladies demonstrated not only their excellent choral skills, but also their passion for, and their enjoyment of choral singing.
What a musical feast they presented. All impressively sung from memory, their preparation and disciplined training was evident from the start as they put on their summer hats and swayed ‘Under the Boardwalk’. They continued with strong unison, well blended rich harmonies and good clear diction in songs such as ‘Hushabye Mountain’ and ‘Mister Sandman’. The dynamic range was used to great effect and well controlled with all eyes fixed on Matthew. Labi Siffre’s poignant song ‘Something inside So Strong’ was a highlight and very moving.
During a well-earned vocal break, John and Carol Spencer led a reflection on the work of Christian Aid, with its focus this year, on Mothers and Babies in Sierra Leone. This connected well with the Methodist Lancashire District Partnership which has a team of which John Spencer is one. Over the last 10 years, they have visited and worked alongside the Church in Sierra Leone.
The concert then continued with more confident performances ranging from the gentle ‘Fields of Gold’ to Carole King’s timeless ‘You’ve Got a Friend’. Spanning the centuries, the audience was treated to a beautiful and moving polyphonic composition ‘Domine Non Sum Dignus’ (Lord, I am not worthy, but only say the word and I shall be healed’) It was a delight to hear good unaccompanied singing. The programme presented a variety of choral items, which could only perhaps have been enhanced by perhaps a piano solo from their talented accompanist, or maybe a vocal solo or two. Following Rutter’s ‘Clare Benediction’, the concert ended with a 2nd rendition from ‘Sister Act’. Following ‘My Guy’ from the first half; Lisa’s delightful opening solo, grew into a truly ‘Joyful Joyful’ finale to an uplifting and enlightening afternoon.