St Francis Xavier Church in Broad Street, Hereford, was the beautiful setting for some wonderful singing by the girls of Cantabile. The roundedness of the interior seemed to provide just the right acoustics to show the choir off and the harmonies resonated around the building, especially lovely at the ends of certain pieces which finished with a quiet hum or when all the voices were raised, producing a wonderful rounded tone.

It is difficult to believe that some of these girls as are young as thirteen or fourteen, as the vocal sound is mature and confident. Some have only belonged to the choir for a few weeks, as of course, the older girls left at the end of the last Summer Term, and yet whether singing accompanied or a cappella, almost every piece was sung without music. These singers are an enormous credit to their Director, Jo Williamson, and one can easily understand how they won BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year last year and were prizewinners at an International Festival in Barcelona in October 2016.

The programme was varied, from traditional folk songs like the lyrical Bunch of Thyme, to the beautiful aria from Handel’s Messiah “How Beautiful are the Feet” to Christmas carols like Silent Night and lighter pieces such as Jingle Bells and White Christmas. I love choral music and I was only sorry that the audience for these girls wasn’t bigger. The concert was enjoyed by a hundred people or so, but the church could have held more and the standing ovation by much of the audience at the end of the evening showed that this was so much more than just another school concert.

Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust