Stuart Nettleship, the Conductor and Musical Director of the Stamford Bridge Singers, put together a very varied collection of music and readings to help celebrate Christmas as well as to look forward to an exciting year of singing in 2018.
One of the highlights was the especially arranged, and fiendishly difficult, ‘A Right Merry Ding Dong’, arranged by Stuart, which featured a number of well-known carols in some less well-known arrangements. There were a number of references to bells in this piece and all in the choir were dinging or donging at some stage.
In a complete contrast the opening musical piece was a simple and beautiful New Year Carol by Benjamin Britten, with the first verse sensitively sung by Victoria with sympathetic accompaniment by Geoffrey Coffin. The first half finished with the complete Gershwin Portrait, which featured many of the well-known songs arranged for choir, and two soloists, Katie and Paul. Both really entered into the spirit of the pieces and this was quite a change from the more church choir sound in other pieces. In May 2018 the choir will perform this again, but with a live jazz band, which it is hoped will be more reliable than the technology on Saturday.
Eleanor Audet, a long standing member of the choir, who has gone on to study singing, delighted the audience with two Christmas pieces: the traditional French carol ‘Whence is this goodly fragrance flowing?’ and the very popular ‘ O Holy Night’ by Adolphe Adam. The clarity of her voice and the beauty of her top notes are outstanding.
The concert was in aid of Saint Catherine’s hospice and the very final piece was a version for audience and choir of While Shepherds watched their Flocks by Night. Both audience and choir left the concert with a big smile and an ear worm; While Shepherds watched really can be sung to Ilkley Moor bar t’at.
This was a fine end to a fine evening’s entertainment.