It was agreed by all that the Sunday afternoon 8 December 2013 choral concert at Albany’s Holy Cross Anglican Church was a wonderful experience and demonstrated a very high standard of singing and the support of the RSCM NZ that underpins this.
The 20 strong choir of St Andrew’s Anglican Church Epsom were superb under the excellent leadership by their Music Director, Neil Shroff.
It was immediately apparent that a lot of effort had gone into selecting choir and organ music that would capture the imagination and interest of the audience.
The first bracket included “Alleluia” by William Boyce, “Christ be beside me” by Malcolm Archer and “O for the wings of a dove” by Felix Mendelssohn. This Choir offers singing scholarships and two scholars were present in this choir. One a young lady sang the solo part of the Mendelssohn anthem with full heavenly splendour. Her rendering of this wonderful piece of music was seemingly of equal standing to that of the young choir boy of many years ago Ernest Lough who made this anthem famous. This together with the feeling put in by the choir in their singing of the tutti parts was quite stunning and brought tears to many eyes.
The singing was interspersed by some pieces skillfully and artistically played by David Brookes on the church’s new Opus Johannes organ including “In peace your sheep may graze” by JS Bach; “ Meditation on Maria zu lieben from Paderborn Gesungbuch, 1765” by Vernon Griffiths and “Trumpet Tune” from Three Piece Suite by Martin Setchell.
A second bracket sung by the choir included “O taste and see” by Vaughn Williams. Here the second of their Scholars sang the solo which again with the choir was sung with true beauty.
These two scholar soloists have extraordinary talent and will go a long way.
This second bracket continued with “Ave verum corpus” by W A Mozart and “Canticle of Thanksgiving” by John Rutter.
There was later a third bracket which included “O come o holy child” by J S Bach.” Love came down at Christmas” by John Rutter, “The Little Road to Bethlehem” by Michael Head and a most unusual but delightful setting of “Every Star shall sing a carol” by Sydney Carter who concerned himself with unknown worlds in other parts of the Universe in which we live.
It was obvious that during the concert their ebullient music Director Neil Shroff had made true friends with the audience and towards the end of this concert he had everyone joyfully singing a group of lovely Christmas Carols. These included “Once in Royal David’s City” with the 2 soloists singing together the first verse, “O little town of Bethlehem” to the tune that has now become quite popular. “Good King Wenceslas” at a good cracking pace, “Silent Night” and “Hark the herald angels”.
It was obvious from the warm and enthusiastic applause from the attentive audience that this concert was hugely enjoyed and was a great success.