Summer Festival 2022

Tuesday 16th August, 2022 - 8:52am

On Sunday 7th August Mousehole Male Voice Choir held their 88th Summer Festival Concert at Chapel Street Methodist Church in Penzance, This was the first time in three years, following Covid that the summer Festival was held.

Attending the concert was the Mayor of Penzance, the recently appointed, Councillor Jonathan How. Nearly two hundred and fifty people joined him from far and wide to hear the choir sing as well as the choir’s special guest, Faryl Smith. Faryl rose to fame after appearing as a finalist on ITV’s  Britain’s Got Talent in 2008 when Simon Cowell said that she was ‘literally one in a million’. The following year saw Faryl’s debut album breaking records as the fastest selling ever by a classical artist, going gold within the first week of release. There are so many occasions when Faryl has sung to huge crowds, and in prestigious venues, too many to fit here, but  just a few examples are: the Festival of Remembrance, Royal Variety Show, Epsom Derby, Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Faryl regularly performs the National Anthem at many different sporting events at Twickenham, Wimbledon and Wembley. She has performed several times at the FA Cup Final in front of an estimated 8 million viewers and also the Six Nations Rugby games. Faryl is currently a Guildhall Scholar on the postgraduate course at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, studying with Marilyn Rees. Prior to this, she graduated from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama Undergraduate course with a first-class honours degree.

Faryl is no stranger to concerts with the choir, having sung at previous Summer concerts in 2012, 2016 and 2018. She was accompanied by Timothy Dean, Director of The Chapel Street Ensemble, Penzance. Her diverse concerts draw a wide range of audiences, and she particularly enjoys introducing new audiences to classical music. With this in mind, Faryl’s impressive performance began with Gounod’s ‘Ave Maria’, first written in 1853 but it was the 1859 version in Latin which became popular and with which she absolutely wowed the audience. Her music also included the operatic aria ‘Si, mi chiamano Mimi’ from Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’, Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess, Rusalka’s Song To The Moon’ by Antonín Dvořák and ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’, 

This year, the choir introduced a further seven pieces of music to their repertoire, which included ‘Bright Morning Stars’, an Appalachian Folksong arranged by Dorian Kelly, ‘Slow Me Down, Lord’ words and music by Linda Spevacek, ‘The Awakening’ by Joseph M Martin and ‘Cornwall My Home’, by Cornwall’s very own, Harry Glasson. This particular arrangement, had with Harry’s permission, been arranged for four part harmony by our musical director, Stephen Lawry. Harry was in the audience, Meur ras Harry, we hope the choir did it justice! The choir had begun practicing these pieces of music during the Covid lockdown last year whilst undertaking Zoom choir practices.

One of the highlights of the Summer Festival is the recognition of choir members service. This year was no different with eleven members of the choir having one hundred and sixty years of service recognised. At the midway point of the concert the 10 year long service badges were presented by choir president Kath Matthews and chairman, Jon Pender to Ian Davies, Tony Farrell, Geoff Gaskill, Tim Lawry, Rob McLeod, David Strandberg, Rodney Ward, Graham Warren and David Williams. A 30 year badge was presented to Bass, John Davies and a 40 years badge was presented to Second Tenor, Barrie Wright.

The concert was finally brought to an end with Faryl joining the choir with Alwyn Humpreys arrangement of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Following the concert, the choir, their families, Farryl her family and her partner Sam sang the night away at The Bath Inn. Thanks must go to Paul Gooding for providing the hospitality which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. 

Concerts like this do not happen by chance. Our musical team has again dedicated their time and effort in preparing the choir for this, our most prestigious event of the year. Thank you  Annette Turton, Dave Williams and our MD, Stephen Lawry for ensuring the Summer Concert is such a wonderful event.

Photo Credits: Faryl Smith and Tony Howes

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