Review of Orpheus Singers Concert ‘Celebrate’
on Saturday 3rd November 2018 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Cowes
Orpheus Singers, under the baton of Sandy Hunt, provided the audience with their ‘Celebration’ Concert (which was planned by the outgoing Musical Director Toni Rogers and Conductor Philip Fryer).
Any Concert which opens with Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’ and concludes with Parry’s ‘I was Glad’ was certainly going to make the audience sit up and take notice. Most successful were the 3 Handel pieces, Stanford’s ‘Oh! For a closer walk with God’, and the concluding Parry.
The range of music required the choir to cope with differing styles and complexity. The homophony was where they were most comfortable and small groups of soloists gave a good account of themselves. When the swell of a great crescendo was so well supported by the Organist, Andrew Cooper, we could really feel the sense of occasion these pieces must have engendered when first performed.
The absolute high spots for me were the pieces by Eric Whitacre, (a living composer). ‘Lux Aurumque’, was sublime and included a beautiful solo line by Kelly Wavell, soaring above the choir so effortlessly.
Excellent diction and ‘heads out of copies’ meant that we could share the enthusiasm and the sheer joy of achieving that top B flat, in Parry’s ‘I was glad’.
It certainly was an evening to ‘Celebrate’ the achievements of Orpheus Singers who have developed under the baton of Philip Fryer in the last 4 years. It is so heart warming to attend a concert where the choir is enjoying themselves as much as the audience!