We did it! We had our first concert recently, after more than two years because of Covid. It was hard work, but also great fun, and the choir members thoroughly enjoyed both the preparation and the final concert, which was performed in All Saints’ Church, Sutton Courtenay on 22nd May. It was wonderful to see the church full of an audience who seemed to enjoy their evening.
We were very happy with our performance, and it was good to read an independent review by Alison Langton:
All Saints’ Singers Concert, Sunday 22 May
Live choral music returned to All Saints’ church with a wonderful programme of music performed by the All Saints’ Singers – their first concert since the Covid lockdown. The choir’s Music Director Sebastian Thomson gave the choir clear direction throughout and had clearly prepared his singers with thorough and effective rehearsals; and the concert was ably accompanied by organist Ben Giddens.
The choir gave a spirited and committed performance of sacred music by Mozart, Haydn and Vivaldi. The opening piece was the Missa Brevis in C by Mozart (K220) – nicknamed the Sparrow Mass because some of the accompaniment has been likened to the chirping of these birds – with contribution from the evening’s soloists: Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie (soprano), Clemmie Franks (alto), Dominic Bevan (tenor), and Michael Hickman (bass). There were a couple of late entries in the opening movement – any choir could be forgiven for a little rustiness in performance after such a long layoff – but these were soon forgotten during the emotionally charged later movements where soloists and choir interacted well.
Next we had the ever-popular Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart (K618) which was beautifully delivered to a spell-bound audience. The Te Deum in C major by Haydn completed the first half of the concert, a piece taken in a single continuous movement and requiring some vocal stamina, especially the final section Non Confundar in Aeternum. Often this work can seem rushed owing to over-fast tempi, but this performance was taken steadily and benefitted from the singers’ clear annunciation of the Latin text.
After an interval for drinks, the second half of the concert was devoted to Vivaldi. First Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie gave a beautiful rendition of the sublime motet Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera (RV630). The evening finished with the wonderful Gloria in D (RV630) – one of Vivaldi’s best-loved works. Some of the movements were taken at a rather pedestrian pace but overall it was an effective performance.
It was clear from the smiles of the audience, choir, and soloists that this was a very enjoyable and well-received concert.
We feel optimistic about future performances and are planning a 40th anniversary one in November.
The Summer Term
Members of the choir are going to meet up for six sessions singing folk songs directed by Sebastian Thomson.