For this concert the choir joined forces once again with the Barnes Concert Band, directed by Alan Goodall. We were raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Relief, so it was doubly encouraging that we had a large audience. The programme gave us the chance to prove that we don’t just do ‘churchy’ stuff, although it did include two of our traditional blockbusters – Parry’s ‘I was Glad’ and Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’. In the Parry we were accompanied by the band, which was a severe test for a small choir used to James Cryer’s sensitive organ playing, but according to friends in the audience we acquitted ourselves well. After a brief tutorial from Richard, choir and audience combined with the band in ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’. The sound was fearsome, and the enemies of the Republic were left quaking in their shoes.
The band played with verve and excellent ensemble, with some sensitive solo playing from Simon Slack on the trumpet. Particularly noteworthy was the medley commemorating the centenary of the RAF, which falls on the 10th of July.
James Cryer gave us everyone’s favourite, the ‘fairground organ’ piece ‘Sortie in E flat’ by Lefébure-Wely
The full choir sang Elgar’s ‘As Torrents in Summer’, Holst’s ‘Swansea Town’, a choral arrangement of Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ and Stanford’s ‘Blue Bird’, with Amber Hillier soaring aloft as the soprano soloist. But of course the Junior Choir stole the show – from the youngest to the oldest they sang with verve and assurance. ‘The Rhythm of Life’ and ‘There is a castle on a Cloud’ were both well done, but I will always remember the youngest children pirouetting in ‘Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines’.
Finally I must mention our very own James Cryer and Richard Lyne playing a four-handed piano version of Grainger’s ‘An English Country Garden’. As befits two such popular people, their bravura performance brought the house down.