It's not just Gareth Malone who can inspire men, women and children to sing - you only had to hear Saturday's Christmas concert given by Hertford Choral Society and the choir of Hertingfordbury Cowper Primary School to realise that. Musical Directors Derek Harrison and Katie Neilson's imaginative seasonal choices made for a thoroughly enjoyable programme without a "turkey" in sight!
The indispensable Nicholas Robinson provided brilliant accompaniments on piano and organ, augmented by the accomplished trumpet soloist Paul Mayes. Even suffering from a bad cold , Paul was every inch a star performer, blowing us all away with his own variations on Angels from the Realms of Glory and Harry James' Concerto for Trumpet. It was a masterclass in trumpet virtuosity.
Compere Roger Mullis contributed much more than a good-humoured commentary. The Chelsea scarf he presented to Arsenal fan Nicholas Robinson was accepted with only slight protest, but Nick had the ladies of the Chorus on side with the bright red scarves they were wearing.
Joining with Derek Harrison , Roger sang in a counter-tenor duet of Purcell's Sound the Trumpet to the surprise and delight of the listeners.
Katie Nielson's 24 strong choir from Hertingfordbury Cowper Primary School tackled their adventurous and jazzy programme with confidence and a great sense of fun - especially in Sheep, Sheep Sheep. Their recorder players added a special atmosphere in Midnight and the Christmas Cake they "baked " with HC went down very well indeed. I wish Katie had been my music teacher at school.
It is always a pleasure to hear the many strengths of the Choral Society. Harold Chaplin's lyrical solo in Rutter's Down in yon Forest chimed with the gentleness of this harmonious work. My only wish was to have been able to hear this and some of the other softer passages of the night with greater ease. By contrast Hilary Laidler's reading in Another 12 Days was full of feisty, hand-on-hip attitude. Don't buy her socks this Christmas!
The Chorus was in good form, singing descants with the Audience carols, punching out rag-time rhythms and ending with the powerful staccato lines of Sir Christemas. A great performance from individuals from our own local community.