Review NWN 17th Dec 2009

Merry little ding dong

The Cromwell Singers: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas at St Maryís Church, Shaw, on Saturday December 5


THE Christmas concert season can become boring, with the same set of carols being sung every year, but this afternoon concert at Shaw church turned out to be a very enjoyable event.

The concert was given in aid of church funds by The Cromwell Singers, with a raffle for the Parkinsonís Disease Society.  The weather was not encouraging, and the timing was unusual, but there was a very good audience, covering a wide age range.  The church was warm and inviting and the choir completed the welcome when they opened with a lively and unusual arrangement of Ding Dong! Merrily On High, which had us all tapping our feet.

The concert continued with an enjoyable mix of the familiar and new Ė each item being introduced with a  few informative words about the piece, its style and composer.  Among the familiar was a lovely rendition of Adolphe Adamís Oh Holy Night, which was beautifully led by the choir soloist, Rebecca Golding.

There were several other well-known pieces, including a joyful presentation of John Rutterís Star Carol and an effectively-sung version of Walking In the Air by Howard Blake, whereas John Gardnerís Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day was less well-known and one which I look forward to hearing again.

The choir produced a good harmonious sound and their enthusiasm was apparent in their performance.  Their words were clear, enabling us to fully appreciate the lesser-known carols and Christmas songs, and they coped positively with the more challenging arrangements.  They were led well by Rosemary Evans and fully supported by accompanist Daphne George.

There was also an interlude in each half when we were entertained with a piano duet played by Rosemary and Daphne.  These were a Short Fantasia of Christmas Carols and a Medley of Carols, two duets with different styles but easy to listen to.  There were also opportunities for audience participation when, by a novel process, different members of the audience were invited to choose their favourite carol for all to sing.

The concert finished with a rousing medley of Christmastide songs, ending with everyone enthusiastically joining in with White Christmas.

This was a most enjoyable concert, and listening to the comments afterwards while enjoying the delicious refreshments provided by the choir and their helpers, it was clearly very much appreciated by both young and old.


Reproduced with the kind permission of Newbury Weekly News