Posts Tagged ‘St. Andrew’s Church Witchford’

Review: Witchford Voices in St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford on Monday 18th July 2011

July 22, 2011

Enthusiasm, liveliness and rhythmic drive permeated the songs delivered by Witchford Voices in their concert in St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford. Under the directorship of Naomi D’Cunha, a host of popular songs filled the programme. Supported by Dee Ireland’s fascinating Sound and Lighting the show entertained the packed audience with polished precision.

This large choir demonstrated moments of considerable talent. Full rich harmonies, fantastic and vibrant pulsation and amazing clarity of diction in the most rapid of lines were the order of the day. The programme included many popular numbers: Billionaire, Don’t Stop Believing, Fix You, Just the way you are, Hallelujah, Lean on me, and Run. Other cultures were delightfully represented most noticeably in Baba Yetu and Africa with Kyrie Eleison providing variety in the list. The carefully orchestrated commentary on the songs by different members of the choir certainly added to the overall impression that this choir knew how to organize themselves and the input of Keith Gallois, Helen Williamson, and Joe Robbins undoubtedly contributed to this effect.

This choir has come on since it was first inaugurated and the medlies from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Les Miserables were a step in the right direction. How such a packed choir managed to suddenly produce costumes and props for Les Miserables was amazing and the effect delightful.

There were a number of notable highlights: The opening sound effects. the rhythmic momentum and the meaningful backing of Africa, the highly amusing characterization of the Billionaire, the clearly marked variety of styles in songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and some gorgeous soft moments that were beautifully shaped in Hallelujah and Run.

This choir shows great potential and it will be interesting to watch their progress in the future. They have already added Ely Cathedral as a venue and a European Tour to their list of notable achievements.

Future events include:

Sunday 4th December 2011 St Andrew’s Church

Friday 9th December 2011 St. John’s Church, Waterbeach

Monday 12th December 2011 Ely Cathedral

Friday 16th December 2011 Witchford Voices Party

The European Tour:

June 3rd 2012 Markt, Bruges, Belgium

June 4th 2012 Hospital of St. John, Damme, Belgium

June 4th 2012: Kerk St. Paulus, Ghent, Belgium

June 5th 2012: Cité Europe, Calais, France


Twitter @witchfordvoices


Review: Witchford Voices in St. Andrew’s Church Witchford Tuesday 20th July 2010

July 23, 2010

Witchford Voices raised the roof of St. Andrew’s Church Witchford for both of their evening performances on July 19th and 20th 2010. Their popularity knows no bounds. From a village with very few singers, Witchford has fast become a centre for singing enthusiasts county wide, thanks to the hard work of Keith Gallois, Naomi D’Cunha and Helen Williamson (amongst others).

Naomi knew her music, and supported by knowledgeable colleagues produced a programme of great songs. Often singing unaccompanied or to recorded accompaniment, the singers knew their music. Not a sheet of paper was in sight – all singers’ eyes were glued to their conductor whose control and inspiration were impressive.

The 90-or-so-strong choir – with 50 of the members performing for this concert – sang with a vibrant enthusiasm that was unforgettable. The packed audience was easily caught up in this wonderful group’s exuberance.

 The opening item: ‘One Vision’, attracted our attention immediately with its tremendous impact. Some of the choir’s potential became apparent in the gentler phrases of ‘May it be’, while we were transported to other more spiky cultures with captivating rhythms in the following three Gospel-like melodic incantations. 

A variety of people interspersed the singing with snippets of information that kept us entertained and informed. Their contributions were just right – not too long and not too short and with just the information we wanted to know.     

The familiar and popular ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Don’t stop believin’ led us to the interval when a free drink was ready and waiting.

‘Adiemus’ by Karl Jenkins, ‘Down by the River to Pray’, ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Run’, and ‘Lean on Me’ followed and made the evening complete. In these pieces particularly, the balance and rhythmic precision of this huge choir were phenomenal. One of the highlights was ‘Run’ which began with a gorgeous rich tone in the altos and the men’s tone in ‘Down by the River we Pray’ was also impressive. 

The evening was a delightfully warm and summery and super management meant that everything went off like a dream. Our village church looked resplendent enhanced with a background of colourful lighting produced by Dee Ireland.

Cleverly arranged part singing, rhythmic zeal and excitement, and the ability to convey the sheer joy of participating in this momentous event made the evening a roaring success.  You are advised to book early for their Christmas events:

Sunday 5th December Evening Christmas Concert, St Andrew’s Church, Witchford in aid of Marie Curie

Friday 10th December Evening Christmas Concert, St. Mary’s Church. Ely in aid of Marie Curie


Choir manager


Membership secretary/treasurer

Musical Director Naomi D’Cunha

Review of An Evening of Classical European and Russian Music by Irina Tutt (Soprano) at St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford, Ely on Saturday 17th April 2010

April 29, 2010

Irina Tutt’s return to Witchford was a resounding success. The church was packed and you could feel the pride the villagers felt. Irina, a Russian soprano of note trained at the Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, married into the Tutt family in the village, and has been warmly welcomed ever since. In this generous concert she gave her time freely and wowed the audience with her amazingly powerful and rich voice.

Dr Stepehn Ades put the church organ through its paces, accompanying Irina and performing solos with skill and assurance and Dr Stephen Taylor introduced each item providing intriguing background information to the artists and pieces.

The programme included a variety of works by Bach, Handel, Purcell Mozart, Schubert, Gounod, Widor and a number of Russian composers. 

The solos Irina sang were powerfully delivered, Irina’s rich voice giving the songs extra emotion and depth. One of the highlights for me was her performance of “Dido’s Lament” by Purcell. I have heard this lovely piece sung many times, but Irina’s interpretation was special. While Stephen Ades played the recurring bass line with steady assurance, Irina reinforced the familiar pleas of the singer with a spine-chilling and highly expressive colouring. Her words “Remember me” were not the plaintive cry I am used to hearing; these words were sung with strength and passion that demanded attention. This was indeed a woman suffering.

Another highlight was “Ave Maria” by Schubert and her opening strains were the most serene I have heard. Of the Russian songs, the “Vocalise No 14” by Zavalishina was the most impressive with an amazing expressive potency infusing the phrases.

Of the organ works played by Dr Stephen Ades, Widor’s Toccata from his 5th Symphony was particularly impressive. As he told me after the performance, this work needs to be approached differently according to the nature of the organ. He showed great sensitivity to the organ in St. Andrew’s and he gave this piece, so often played at the end of weddings, rare detail, clarity, expressive variety, space and strength. This organist is no ordinary performer and his technical prowess in Mushel’s “Toccata” was also very much in evidence.   

The concert ended with two fine encores: “Danny Boy”, that familiar folk-like song expressing a father’s concern for his son away at war and a very moving performance of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love”.

This was a wonderful evening, all the better for the fine team who organized the event so well. Let us hope that Irina will return to sing again soon.

Proceeds will be shared between the Children’s Cancer Ward C2 Addenbrooke’s Hospital and St Andrew’s Church Extension Fund.

Contacts: (St. Andrew’s Church)

Songs from the Shows by the Isle Singers

October 11, 2009

Report on the Isle Singers’ Concert given on the 9th of October 2009 in St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford, Ely, Cambs. UK

The evening poured with rain. I struggled down to the church with the stand, my umbrella, a heavy raincoat and my brief case containing the music and wondered if it was worth it. It definitely was – we all enjoyed singing and hoped that the audience appreciated it too.

The programme was as follows:

The Isle Singers’ Programme  Friday 9th October 2009

In St. Andrew’s Church, Witchford 7.30 p.m.

director Dr. Rosemary Westwell   accompanist Pam Austin


The Isle Singers:

  1. “Any Dream Will Do” from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice
  2. “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Tim Rice
  3.  “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” music by Leonard Bernstein, words by Stephen Sondheim
  4.  “Tonight” from “West Side Story” music by Leonard Bernstein, words by Stephen Sondheim


Items by St Andrew’s Sutton Youth choir directed and accompanied by Helen Bradley


  1. “I could have Danced all night” from “My Fair Lady” music by Frederick Lowe words by Alan Lerner
  2.  “Yesterday” by Paul McCartney
  3. “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess lyrics by Du Bose Heyward music by George Gershwin arranged by William Stickles
  4.  “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music” music by Richard Rodgers words by Oscar Hammerstein 11


INTERVAL of about 30 minutes


The Isle Singers:

  1. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from “Oklahoma” music by Richard Rodgers lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 11
  2.  “If I Loved you” from “Carousel” music by Richard Rodgers lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 11
  3. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel” music by Richard Rodgers words by Oscar Hammerstein 11
  4. “My Heart will go On” (Love Them from ‘Titanic’) music by James Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings


Items by St Andrew’s Sutton Youth choir directed by Helen Bradley


  1. “Moon River” composed by Johnny Mercer (lyrics) and Henry Mancini (music) in 1961 from the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” 
  2. “When I’m 64” Paul McCartney
  3.  (both choirs) “The Lord is my Shepherd” Psalm 23 from the BBC TV series “The Vicar of Dibley” by music by Howard Goodall



The Isle Singers are an amateur female vocal group. They have been singing in the Ely area for over 30 years. The have been on TV and radio (briefly), they have been a surprise Birthday treat, a Cabaret act and they have sung madrigals in the minstrel’s gallery in Trinity College Cambridge. Contact: (01353 663918)

News: events in the Ely area

October 7, 2009

Events in the Ely area:

Monday 26th October 2009 730 Topping’s Bookstore Ely author Shirley Williams

Wednesday 11th November 2009 Hayward Theatre, King’s School Ely Concert Society Series , 730 p.m. violinist

Saturday 14th November 2009 Cathedral Girls’ Choir with Henry Olonga, St. George’s Church Littleport

Wednesday 18th November 2009 730 Topping’s Bookstore Ely  author McCall Smith

Friday 20th November 2009 730 Hayward Theatre The King’s School Ely ‘The Old Dispensary Concert’ 

Monday 23rd November King’s School Ely Senior School Play ‘Our Country’s Good’

Saturday 28th November 730-915 p.m. Ely Cathedral Cambridge University Music Society  Mahler Eight

Friday 4th December 2009 730p.m. King’s School Ely ‘A Night at the Musicals’

Saturday 5th December 2009 St Mary’s Church Ely, Ely Choral Society Christmas Concert

Sunday 6th December 2009 Ely Cathedral Ely Sinfonia Christmas Concert

Monday 7th December 730 p.m. Recital Hall King’s School Ely ‘Unplugged’

Friday 18th December 2009 5-7 p.m. Ely Railway Station Isle Singers Christmas Carols


Saturday 30th January 2010 Peace Child – Alpha Omega by David Gordon (Cat Steven’s brother) Ely Cathedral

Saturday 19th June 2010 Summer Concert Ely Choral Society

Saturday 17th July 2010 Ely Cathedral Cambridge Philharmonic

Saturday 6th March 2010 Ely Sinfonia ‘Northern Lights’

Friday 1st October 2010 Ely Cathedral Ely Sinfonia ‘Travellers’ Tales’

Saturday 27th March 2010 St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach Ely Choral Society with Rogers Covey-Crump of The Hilliard Ensemble, a specialist period orchestra and Jonathan Lilley  Ely Choral Society

Saturday 30th October 2010 Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini Lady Chapel Ely Cathedral,  Ely Choral Society