Hope for Africa - Lesotho

A Concert by The Cromwell Singers with St Nicolas Church Choir

St Nicolas Church, Newbury   Saturday 30 April 2016


A quick glance at the concert programme told me that we in the audience were in for an interesting and intriguing evening of music. Sarah Cope, currently Musical Director of Cromwell Singers and of St Nicolas Church, together with husband Nic, have over the years had a large impact on local musicians, encouraging development of skills as well as enjoyment.  Saturday’s concert was testament to this.

 We had Swingle-style singing from Cromwell Singers, producing sounds to represent familiar orchestral notes in two pieces – “Bourrée for Bach” and “Mad about Mozart”.  In contrast, St Nicolas Church Choir performed a number of items including the majestic “O Thou the Central Orb”, with Steve Bowey providing organ accompaniment as he always knows how! Spirituals and worship songs included “Were You There?”, sensitive to the moods of the piece; “Siyahamba” – so joyful and enthusiastic; and later “Listen” – a thrilling performance with excellent diction and control from St Nicolas Junior Choir.

 Treading new ground with “The Love of the Sea”, the Cromwell Singers balanced well and were enhanced by the accompanying blending of alto saxophone played by Victoria Benjamin.  Vicky’ solo choice was “And Everything is Still” – originally written for flute, and bringing a haunting sound to the church acoustic.  This innovation was well-judged, with a competent saxophonist giving of her best.

 In nostalgic mood, “This Sceptered Isle” featured the two adult choirs in Robin Highcock’s medley of English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh tunes (I counted 15).  This was quite a feat, and a brain-teaser  for the lively audience.

 Finally, with “For the Beauty of the Earth” and “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”, all choirs combined to bring us John Rutter, sending us thoughtfully on our way home. 

This charity event was the musicians’ gift to the “Hope for Africa” funds, supported by St Nicolas Church.  The excellent, indefatigable leadership of Sarah and Nic Cope gives so much to the musicians, who respond with loyalty and give and receive so much pleasure.


Newbury Weekly News Review Thursday May 5th

Cromwell Singers