Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes, and we were entertained by plenty of variety last night at the latest in the Music in Quiet Places concert series. Our performers came from Kingsland Primary School and Hereford Cathedral School; all gave the audience a great deal of pleasure, voiced in the comments made on the way out. We listened to a veritable salmagundi of pieces and from around the world, the United States and Africa as well as countries in continental Europe and the British Isles. Beautiful melodies from many different genres of music performed on a variety of instruments as well as sung, ensured that the audience was entertained throughout.
A traditional African song, Meliswe, was sung by the children of Kingsland Primary School. They impressed us greatly by singing this in two parts, without music but with movement and clapping. However, their other choral contributions were also excellent as their diction was notable for its clarity and it was clear how well-trained they have been by their music teachers. Furthermore their versatility did not stop at singing. The second half of the concert opened with a competent steel pan band, able to perform the lilting notes of Love Me Tender as well as the lively O, When the Saints and Jambalaya. There were excellent solo performances from Cassiopeia Alexander on the harp, (which was nearly as big as she was), Georgia Hughes on the flute playing a syncopated piece by Paul Harris, and some confident and tuneful clarinet pieces from Sophie Waygood and Francesca Wictome. Playing in front of a packed church must have been very daunting but none showed signs of nerves.
Hereford Cathedral School provided a very good organ soloist, Michael D’Avanzo playing pieces by Reubke and Bach, and a Piano Trio, with I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables as well as an accomplished performance of a Suite by Oswald. We were treated to a new group called The Chaps, all young gentlemen of the school, conducted by Ben Abbott, the school’s Head of English. Their a cappella rendering of Miss Otis Regrets featured a high male alto voice and Sh-Boom was great fun for the audience who were caught out twice applauding at a break in the music which was not the end but just a pause.
The Senior Chamber Choir was as good as we have come to expect and included some whistling in Country Gardens by Percy Grainger as well as some luscious chords, explosive entries and wonderful trumpet-like sounds echoing the words in Steal Away. However, for this particular blogger, the highlight was right at the beginning, with the choir standing along each of the side aisles and singing Lux Aurumque by Whitacre. Conducted by one of their own members, their voices resonated in waves of sound round the lovely, simple interior of the church with its high king-post roof. The purity of the soprano was just beautiful.