Lydian Singers' Concert at Bretton Reviewed

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Bretton MC

Thank you to all who so generously supported Bretton's concert by The Lydian Singers on 13 May by your presence, donations, help with refreshments; and of course, the singers and their leader John Naylor and accompanists Simon Russell (keyboard) and Alison Loram (violin.)

The choir was impressed to see an audience of around 40; and as always, there was praise from all quarters for Bretton's cakes afterwards! Friends providing off-road parking for the choir kept the lane free for audience.

The acoustic also impressed the choir, who when their keyboard decided to falter, managed to adapt to the very basic (and off pitch!) organ. A few frowns were understandably exchanged when it thumped a bit in the first pieces, but Simon's expertise overcame the instrument's inadequacies and the Vierne "Pastorale" sounded particularly lovely.

Fortunately their keyboard operated without hitch when only used for the items with violin. So Alison was spared the alien sound of having to re-pitch her lovely instrument and the audience able to enjoy the true sound of her fabulous playing. Both instrumentalists accompanied the choir in Bach's "Jesu, Joy", as well as performing solos and duets.

The programme moved from early Tudor anthems through Bach, Mozart, Bruckner to Franck's popular "Panis Angelicus", ending with works by "living composers", first of which was Gjeilo's "Ubi Caritas". Will Todd's beautiful "Blessed are the Peacemakers" provoked several admiring comments.

The depth and quality of sound of the basses' entry in "Go Down, Moses" set the tone for the spirituals, arranged for The Lydian Singers by Wigan-based John Benson. Solo bass and soprano enhancing "My Lord What a Morning".

Harmonies by Andrew Carter in a couple of familiar nursery rhymes brought a lighter note towards the end; along with Bob Chilcott's much loved arrangement of "Danny Boy" (Londonderry Air).

The audience burst in to spontaneous singing when Simon played Calon Lân during the collection. Then Rev. David Speed gave thanks to God for the offerings both of donations and the music, quipping that "we would surely give the choir more points than the British entry into the Eurovision Song Contest." He reminded us that God is a great God who cares about the small things in life; and so it is that great singers are willing to come to the small places in life.

The choir ended the evening with Chilcott's arrangement of the Gaelic Blessing (May the road rise to meet you_may God ever hold you in the palm of His Hand) set to an old Irish folk tune.

Audience views were summed up by Rev. David Speed -
"The programme on Saturday was very varied, the choir was delightful, the musical pieces of the highest standard and the time flew. It was a privilege to be there and we felt humbled that the Singers who had sung in so many distinguished places were prepared to come to our small Chapel."

On Sunday, David Speed reminded us "God leaves His Spirit with us. Wherever we go, we can leave behind a blessing. It was a privilege to have the Lydian Singers here. Their conductor told us their last engagement was at Durham Cathedral (where he trained as a chorister), yet he enjoyed it at Bretton as much as at Durham'. Because the people at Bretton have been blessed, they leave their blessing behind".

From the choir and conductor —
* What a lovely concert at Bretton this evening!
* It was a good concert, well received: what a lovely church community. They were a real joy to sing to.
* The little organ was fine!
* Incredibly efficient organisation.
* Fabulous violin playing by Alison: what a wonderful tone!
* Super and sympathetic accompaniments by Simon who appeared totally unfazed by the keyboard problems.
* Really great singing from you all it was a great, balanced sound. (Momentarily the different pitch of the organ took a little adjusting but we soon settled down.)
* A very appreciative audience in a lovely little church: it was a real pleasure to sing there.

To which the audience would add, well led by conductor John Naylor, whose explanations and related anecdotes between items were much appreciated.
Thank you everyone. God bless you from Bretton Methodist Church.

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