Summer Festival 2017

Monday 14th August, 2017 - 10:35am

By Simon Bromage

After all the months of hard work, this year’s Summer Festival Concert is over.  In the audience at St Mary’s church were holidaymakers from overseas and throughout this country as well as members of many Cornish male choirs.  From the comments of those who attended it was indeed a huge success. Our musical director, Stephen Lawry has introduced eight new pieces of music this year, with five of them being premiered at the concert. Three pieces of music were introduced earlier during our trip to Brittany. Singing to a full capacity audience which also included the Mayor of Penzance and his consort, the choir sang with an air of confidence which permeated the audience who generously provided a standing ovation at the end.

The guest artist this year was Laura Nicholas-Hall, who was supported by an excellent accompaniment from pianist Nigel Wicken. How lucky we are to have such a marvellously talented soprano in our local community. She presented a wide range of music which had something for everyone in the audience. Her repertoire included operatic arias from Puccini ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ and Handel’s ‘Lascio Ch’io Pianga’ and showstoppers such as 'Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man’ from Showboat and an Ivor Novello Medley. Her performance was flawless and was a real hit with those listening. 

This year’s new music included two traditional Breton pieces, one arranged by David Caredig-Evans with words by our President Julyan Drew, ‘Give Praise to God’, and the other, a lullaby, sung in Breton, ‘Kousk Breiz Izel’ (‘Sleep my Brittany’). Other new music included two Mark Hayes arrangements of ‘One Song’, and music from the musical Man of La Mancha, ‘The Impossible Dream’. For many in the audience it was the first time that they heard the traditional Cornish anthem, ‘Bro Goth Again Tasow’, sung by the choir in Cornish.  Supporting the choir, with Roger Emerson’s arrangement of ‘Riversong’ , A Celtic Celebration, was Maureen Nicholls playing the flute. Her nimble musical skills engaged the audience and  brought an inimitable Irish charm to this piece of music, which has become a choir and audience favourite.

The Summer Festival Concert is the highlight of the choir’s year when long service awards are presented to choir members. This year was no exception when a total of 270 years of service were acknowledged. The awards were presented by our President, Rev. Julyan Drew, who is also a great inspiration to the choir. The most notable long service awards were a 40 year award to Second Tenor, Peter Robinson and 50 years for Second Tenor, Perkins Matthews. Also receiving long service awards were: Bruce Adams, Ian Pye, Matthew Stevens, Anthony Harvey and Charles Parke for 10 years; Clive Gronow and Patrick Semmens for 20 years and Paul Batten, Barrie Wright and John Swan for 30 years.

The concert concluded with the traditional male voice choir favourite, ‘Morte Criste’ sung by the choir with Laura taking the solo in the third verse. The very appreciative audience gave everyone a standing ovation for what had been an exceptional evening of singing.

This has been said countless times, but it’s worth repeating that thanks must also go to our musical team of Annette Turton, Dave Williams and our MD, Stephen Lawry who by their dedication and hard work ensure Mousehole Male Voice Choir continue and remain to be at the top of their game. 

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