In two entertaining concerts in the Church of St George and St John this past weekend the Edgecumbe Choir delivered a well arranged, well performed and sometimes exuberant salute to the world of pop music.
That the Choir enjoyed the programme was evident and that enjoyment, combined with some quite skilful arrangements, knowledgeable leadership from Tony Hogg and Olga Stancliff, lifted some mediocre music into a memorable category. Well done.
The Choir’s voices blended throughout with a unified, ‘one voice’ sound - including entries and endings, and it was evident singers were listening to each other. Some new voices have helped the overall quality of sound, too.
Supporting acts varied the programme – four numbers from Whakatane High School pupils added contrast and variety both visually and vocally with Cameron Rota a standout soloist performer particularly with his second song, Feeling Good. However, in the two trio numbers those performers would have benefitted from recognizing that, in an acoustically ‘alive’ setting such as the Church, voices do not need amplification; at times the volume was excessive.
For the reviewers the Choir’s outstanding songs had to be –
Michael Martin’s a cappella arrangement of Send in the Clowns; it had well-held and quite beautiful discords with lovely legato singing enhanced by young soprano voices. The programme described this song as being made famous by Frank Sinatra however that can only be if you have not heard Cleo Lane’s –absolutely definitive, version!
Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven is a fine song and was given a sensitive, restrained treatment allowing good balance and quality – a chance to also show off young voices.
Stand By Me had to be on a programme of modern pops and the basses had their moment ‘in the sun’ with this; the Choir showed again just how confident and comfortable they are performing without any instrumental accompaniment.
Adele’s Someone Like You had a strong alto entry singing the solo part and into the song, the range of notes suited all the voices giving a well blended sound and good diction.
The Billy Joel song chosen was Lullaby and it was delivered with a beautiful, muted entry and a blended balance throughout. It is a lovely piece and deserved inclusion. Madonna was represented with Like a Prayer which was not like a prayer but did feature some fine, clear solo voices from the alto section.
Compere Trish Marsden was in good form with interesting introductions and backgrounding although her assertion that the composers and lyricists on the programme would be the Mozart’s, Beethoven’s and Handel’s of the future is arguable and the belief that “Madonna is one cool chick” could ruffle a feather or two and be thought a fowl comment!
Leonie & Peter McRae.