It’s always a pleasure to attend the annual concert of In Harmony, and on Friday the ladies once again proved why they are Arbroath’s favourite all-female singing ensemble.
The evening opened in fine form with the uplifting ‘Wherever You Are’ before dropping into a 1960s groove with Ben E. King’s hit, ‘Stand By Me’. A real song of hope and reflection, Labi Siffre’s ‘Something Inside So Strong’ followed, with some highly attractive phrasing from the choir.
The mood changed with the next set of songs and the addition of a percussionist; the audience was treated to a medley of Queen songs as featured in the popular musical ‘We Will Rock You’.
The music of Queen is some of most anthemic of the 1970’s and ‘80s and well suited to choir performance.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to rock it! A little more drive and animation would have lifted this performance so much.
A good concert is all about variety and In Harmony provided that on Friday evening. Stepping out of the ranks, choir members, Pamela Brewster and Janie White sang a beautiful retention of Scots favourite, ‘Coulter’s Candy’ – what a sweet arrangement too.
The first of the choir’s guests soprano, Eileen Craig who demonstrated why she is so popular in the local music scene with her three selections: ‘My Dearest Dear’ from ‘The Dancing Years’, ‘Summertime’ from ‘Porgy and Bess’, before closing with ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ from Puccini’s opera, ‘Gianni Schicchi’.
The choir returned to the fore with the lovely, plaintive and thoughtful tune, ‘Starry Night of Winter’. This was a solid performance and provided opportunities for some attractive harmonic contrasts and phrasing from the ensemble.
For this reviewer, the next piece was a highlight of the concert; ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, a Louis Prima composition made famous by King of Swing, Benny Goodman was really sung with passion, drive, animation and focus by the ladies and therefore brought out the very best of In Harmony. Well done!
The second half of the concert opened with a fine selection from musical theatre, including ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Out Of My Dreams’ from ‘Oklahoma!’.
Their second guest was Nicole Vasey, a 5th year pupil from St John’s High School, Dundee, who attends the Junior Conservatoire of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at weekends.
Her rendition of ‘Caro Mio Ben’ by Giordano was beautiful, her ‘Waltz Of My Heart’ by Ivor Novello was nothing less than jaw-dropping, and she rounded her selection off with ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’.
The simple and informal setting of ‘When I Close My Eyes’ and the ‘The Water of Tyne’ represented the choir’s retrospective to the memory of former In Harmony member, Monica Barber. Both showed good attention to detail and some fine section work from the ladies.
The ladies closed with a 1940s medley featuring the likes of ‘Jersey Bounce’, ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ and ‘Tuxedo Junction’, which like ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ was sung with real passion and strength, and anthem ‘Rejoice and Sing’ by Rollo Dilworth provided a great lead into the finale ‘Music Is My Life’, a great uplifting ending to the evening.
Joan MacGregor provided a comprehensive vote of thanks and announced that proceeds from the concert would go to the Lochlands Resource Centre Comfort Fund, Arbroath Musical Festival and the CAFE Project.
Music director Vicki Watson has moulded In Harmony into a fine musical credit to the town and special mention must go to fabulous accompanist Alison Hart.