Ten years on Carnoustie Choir still a hot ticket

CARNOUSTIE Choir enjoyed a good turnout for their 10th anniversary concert this week.

The concert was held in the sweltering heat of St Anne’s Church, Carnoustie, and featured a programme of pieces chosen by past audiences and the choir members themselves.

They were joined by the rising stars of Blazin’ Brass, who added their own pieces and often accompanied the choir.

The varied mix of music, from Vivaldi and Mozart to Simon and Garfunkel and the Mommas and Pappas, meant there was something for everyone.

The concert opened with Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’, ably demonstrating with the depth and power of their massed voices just why this piece saw them win their class at the Arbroath Musical Festival recently.

Blazin’ Brass took turns with the choir, and their pieces often had a French flavour to them, with the crisp opening of Frere Jacques bursting into glorious life as the piece progressed.

Possibly the best demonstration of the strengths of both male and female parts of the choir came with Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sound of Silence’.

The excellent cohesion of the ladies’ in the opening movement was expertly reinforced by the confident strength of the men.

The choir also showed how comfortable they were with the music as they seamlessly merged ‘Sound of silence’ with ‘59th Street Bridge song’ then ‘Bridge over troubled water’ to close that particular set.

A further piece from Blazin’ Brass, Elgar’s ‘Chanson de matin’ flawlessly intertwined the delicate triplets of the opening into a building crescendo, creating a much bigger sound than could be expected from just seven teenagers.

The band added their weight to the choir’s rendition of Joseph Haydn’s ‘The heaven’s are telling’ from his oratorio ‘Creation’, written in 1798.

The three soloists were on fine form and performed a good call and response with the rest of the choir who added great vigour.

In a break from their French theme Blazin’ Brass performed ‘Stars and Stripes’ by John Philip Sousa, which has a more technically complex intro than is often remembered or given credit.

The first half came to a close with a medley of tunes from Victor Hugo’s ever-popular ‘Les Miserables’.

The choir has been performing ‘I dreamed a dream’ since 2004, and a ‘Castle on a cloud’ and ‘Do you hear the people sing’ since 2007, and they gave each just the right amount of passion to make it powerful but not overpowering. Amply shown by their ability to instantly drop to a soft almost-whisper when needed.

The second half opened with Verdi’s ‘Speed your journey’ from ‘The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’ from ‘Nabucco’, a technically challenging piece that needed good volume control with the quick crescendos and sudden diminuendos.

This was nicely contrasted by the jaunty nature of the ‘Can Can’ from ‘Orpheus in the underworld’ and ‘The Sorceror’ by Robert Worrall, which had been arranged for brass by band member Gregory Chaplain and former member Joe Walters.

There followed a miscellany of pieces which were all new to the choir, the highlight of which was probably ‘Dream a little dream’ by the Mommas and Poppas.

Musical director Stewart Fyffe excelled in both his role as conductor and compere, while accompanist Sheena Guthrie was on fine form on the piano, ably assisted by page turner Kirsty McRobbie.