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Sunday, 17 June 2018

FEEL THE SPIRIT CONCERT REVIEW | London Pro Arte Choir June 16 2018


Shearing     Songs and Sonnets
Copland      Two Songs of Emily Dickenson
Barber        Sure on this Shining Night
Lauridson   Nocurnes
Rutter         Feel The Spirit

Helen Charlston  Mezzo Soprano
Charles Andrews Piano
Tom Winpenny Conductor

The annual summer concert by the Pro Arte Choir is always a joyous occasion and St Michael's Church in Flower Lane Mill Hill was packed out to see a varied and very jazzy programme on a warm summer's day.

The concert began with the choir singing jazz arrangements of Sonnets and Songs by Shakespeare composed by George Shearing.   These were full of bluesy harmonies and set the tone for an evening of works by Anglo/American composers.

The star turn of the evening was Mezzo Soprano Helen Charlston who dazzled us all with some very impressive singing.  In this first half she sang two songs by Aaron Copland setting words by Emily Dickinson and then a glorious, soaring rendition of Samuel Barber's Sure on this Shining Night.  Helen was greatly appreciated by the large audience.

To complete the first half were some nocturnes by Morten Lauridson - one in French - one in Spanish and one in English. In fact the English nocturne was the same text Sure on this Shining Night which gave us two versions in one sitting to compare and contrast.

The choir are certainly working hard these days under the direction of Tom Winpenny and in the first half had to deal with complex harmonies in Lauridson - jazzy blues rhythms and harmonies in the Shearing as well as singing in three languages.  That they carried it off so effortlessly is a great achievement.

The interval is worth mentioning.  There was Strawberries and cream ( At an incredible £1.50 a go !) Pimms - Wine - Soft Drinks and a fantastic home made cake stall.    The large audience enjoyed the interval !  A very successful #NW7meetyourneighbours event !

Audience Enjoying the Interval

The second part was the main event. John Rutter the famous English composer of Christmas Carols also writes many other works.  This one called FEEL THE SPIRIT was a gospel tinged arrangement of several of the best known gospel songs for choir.   Starting with Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho and ending with When the Saints go Marching In.   The choir gave a blistering performance in these audience pleasing gospel songs.  Helen Charlston provided the solos and rose above the choir with great clarity and power.   The audience cheered all the performers at the end of what had been a marvellous and varied evening.

L-R  Charles Andrews - Tom Winpenny - Helen Charlston Taking applause

The next Concert by the Choir is the ever popular Handel's Messiah on Saturday 24 November in St Michaels's and I do suggest that you get a ticket as early as possible to make sure of your seat because this one will sell out I would expect.   In addition if you sing or want to sing then why not attend the CHORAL WORKSHOP on 15 September at St Michael's with Tom Winpenny and for £20 or £10 if a student - you can sing the choruses and have lunch ( Score is provided)

For all information please go to the website 

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