|The day of the concert was as blustery and stormy as the previous two days had been, which made hair and make up an issue! Mostly for the boys though. We had to do quite a big set up as the church had been in use that day, so there was a lot to do, but we got there just in time, and our audience were welcomed in from the wind and rain, filling the main body and balcony of the church.
We kicked things off with the classic Paul McCartney number, Wonderful Christmastime, with Paul and the boys doing a sterling job of the lead vocals. It was a lively celebratory number and the perfect way to start the evening.
Phil Marshall from St John’s opening in prayer for us, his Sprout jacket from previous years having been augmented with some glorious flashing shoes, and we lead straight in to the beautiful Do You Hear What I Hear, a plea for peace in our time. Our audience joined in with Once in Royal David’s City, then after a reading by Liz, we started a very beautiful reflective choral section with Brittan’s challenging There is No Rose. The ‘second page’ version of Away in a Manger, chosen especially by Alice, was our next beautiful song, then ReMix stepped up to sing the Stopford Lully, a haunting, lamenting setting of the Coventry Carol with a glorious descant by Katie. Errolyn Wallen’s Peace on Earth, inspired by the previous Carols at Kings came next, with the unison melody beautifully challenging the circling chords on the piano. David read the story of the Shepherds, and ReMix sang the evocative Shepherd’s Carol. The tempo lifted slightly with the Sweet Chiming Christmas Bells version of While Shepherd’s Watched, and the band took things to a new level, finishing the first half with Glory to God in the Highest, with added Sax from Shaun and Lotte.
After an interval filled with mince pies and Karen’s secret cordial recipe, now handed down to Liz, we kicked the second half off with Warm this Winter, a lively romantic tale of snowballs and skating! Somewhere in My Memory continued the nostalgic feel, with a lovely descant from Millie, then the choir took us with them as we went A-Wassailing around the houses! After that, the congregation joined us for We Three Kings with an ever increasing Oh between verse and chorus.
Christmas isn’t Christmas now without an Austin special, and this year’s was beautiful- It’s Only Christmas filled us with joy and memories. Then our closing sequence started with The Power of Love, sung by Reflect with a complex and intense arrangement, followed by Sarah’s poem, and the lights dimmed, candles were lit and the snow fell as Colin sang Silent as a Snowflake, and the choir hummed Silent Night underneath. Shaun’s lovely piano lead us beautifully in to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and the trumpet opening of Hark brought our evening nearer the end.
Phil closed in prayer for us, and then Millie and Harriet refused to let us end things there, cuing Tim to kick off All I Want for Christmas is You! It was a wonderful evening, the perfect start to the festive season, and everyone left the church on a real high, ready to go back to their homes and get Christmas underway!
|Well for the first time I think we cracked September Songs! A few of the choir still managed to wriggle out of it using the 'not ready' defense- one or two even planned major holidays, but in the end, most of the choir and a very big audience gathered at a balloon festooned Civic Hall for an evening of Colourful Music!
The choir made their way to the stage as we kicked off our Colours of the World section with What a Wonderful World. They then sat in with their guests to watch as ReFresh sang of the Colours of the Wind, followed by Paul and the band- Shaun on keys, Tim on guitar, Barry on bass and Trev on drums, snapping their version of Paul Simon's Kodachrome. Nancy and Lee, I mean, Celia and Bill went next with a sip of their Summer Wine and the Nice Girls rounded the section off with a lively version of Spice Up Your Life, complete with authentic Spice Girl costumes and dance moves!
Between each section the audience had a quiz to keep them entertained, and we delivered the answers as the pink panther appeared on the screen to herald our In the Pink section and summon ReFresh to the stage. They sang the Pink Panther theme from the cartoons series 'From Head to Toes', followed by a clip with life tips from the inimitable Peter Sellers, Inspector Clouseau. The French theme continued into our ReMix song, La Vie on Rose, kicked off by La Belle Dame Sheila and her tragic tale of her lost love, Frederic.
After the Pink questions, we tackled Red, Gold and Green, inviting our audience to join in with Karma Chameleon. Celia and Fran delivered a beautiful and poignant Scarlet Ribbons, followed by Jason, Polly, Sheila and Tom uke-ing their way through George Ezra's Shotgun. The section was rounded off by the women from the choir singing Big Yellow Taxi.
The final song of our first half was the incredible Sunday from Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. The choir, by now looking very smart in bow ties and spray flowers, had worked incredibly hard to do the song justice, and they did themselves proud as they told of the moment the artist Seurat finally settled on the composition of his iconic painting.
A very short interval lead to the Colours of Life and the powerful Million Dreams, with solos from Andrew and Gabrielle. Austin took on the role of Barnum singing of the Colours of My Life, along with Sarah as Charity. ReFresh lit the place up with their Firework and then the choir tackled the second of their signed songs from the workshop earlier in the year, Any Dream Will Do, with Cheryl at the helm to make sure we were all signing it right!
Colours of Life quiz and answers out of the way, we kicked off I Got the Blues with the beautiful and emotional Rainbow, sung by Sarah with Shaun on the piano. The men then delivered the Elton classic I Guess that's Why they Call it the Blues, followed by another beautiful duet from Jan and Shaun of the Kate Bush classic Symphony in Blue. Blue Suede shoes got the audience on their feet, with a fantastic Jive from Paul and Sandra to go with it!
The final section heralded the arrival of Geldart, Shaun Geldart with a full bond intro to the title song Black and Gold. ReMix went next with a beautiful version of Blackbird, and the section was rounded off with the bond classic Goldfinger.
After thanking the many people who had made it happen, the (by now very late!) evening was rounded off with the beautiful True Colours, with solos from Pat, Jean and Bill. The lively gospel style was the perfect end to what everyone agreed had been a fantastic evening!