Review of a concert by Ely Consort , Burwell Village College Year 6 Singers and Perse Girls Junior School Choir in St. Mary’s Church, Burwell on Saturday 9th March 2013

Ely Consort , Burwell Village College Year 6 Singers and Perse Girls Junior School Choir warmed the hearts of a packed audience on a chilly night in St. Mary’s Church, Burwell on Saturday 9th March 2013. These fine singers presented a host of entertaining and beautifully produced material. With Matthew Rudd directing, Ely Consort opened the event with some splendid American numbers arranged by Daryl Runswick: ‘Yankee Doodle’ and ‘Shenandoah’. ‘Yankee Doodle’ opened the concert with a lively and spirited performance followed by a deliciously smooth, nostalgic ‘Shenandoah’.

In memory of Dave Brubeck who died last year, an instrumental group consisting of Claire Stevenson (saxophone), Daphna Sadeh Neu (bass), Jonathan Lilley (piano) and Roger Bett (drums) had us tapping our toes to ‘Take Five’.  The contributions by Claire Stevenson and Jonathan Lilley were particularly impressive.

Tonal beauty and well-shaped phrasing by Ely Consort endeared us to a lovely performance of ‘Sure on this shining Light’ by Morten Laurisden which was followed by a highly charismatic series of songs from Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’. John Simmons (solo bass) was particularly good, revelling in the role.

After interval the full choir brightened up the church with a stimulating performance of Alexander L’Estrange’s ‘Zimbe’, an exciting collection of songs from Africa. This composition suits a large choir and sounds from Ely Consort were well matched with the Junior singers. The flow of rhythmic chants, the melodious harmonies of the native African styles and the joyful involvement of the singers captivated the audience.

This was indeed a wonderful concert and you should book early for Ely Consort’s celebration of its 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary concert on Saturday 22nd June at St. Andrews in Sutton.

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