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12:13pm Friday 22nd June 2012 in Leisure
Summertime!, Cantores Olicanae St John’s Church, Ben Rhydding, was the venue on Saturday for a concert entitled Summertime! – A Celebration of American Musical Classics, given by Cantores Olicanae, directed by Robert Marsh, with supporting musicians.
This was quite a departure from the normal sacred repertoire in which this choir usually specialises, and it proved to be an interesting challenge for them.
In the first group of pieces we heard selections from West Side Story, and after a somewhat stern-faced start, everyone finally let their hair down with a rousing rendition of America!
It was appropriate that George Gershwin was also well represented in the programme. Gershwin had an all-too-short life, but his ability to fuse jazz with classical elements, and his great operatic sense, enabled him to produce the masterpiece Porgy and Bess. So it was good to hear the choir, by now in good voice and relaxed mood, reminding us of his genius, particularly in It Ain’t Necessarily So.
We also heard the highly-talented Sapphire Saxophone Quartet, and the church acoustic was just right for this combination. We had amusing and informative introductions to the items from each member of the group in turn. Although the pieces might have been unfamiliar to many, they were played with such style and conviction that no-one could possibly have been anything other than moved by them, particularly High Life by Will Gregory.
The evening’s soloist was local soprano Rebecca Curran, accompanied on this occasion by pianist Robert Sudall. Rebecca’s beautiful tone and confident manner captivated the capacity audience, and her performance was greeted with prolonged applause.
We should continue to be grateful for all the aforementioned musicians, and all others in this locality, who work hard to help maintain the worthy tradition of live music-making, which results in enjoyable evenings such as this.