Concerts 2017-2018

Summertime Songs: Old, New, Loved, Neglected
Thursday 7th June and Saturday 9th June 2018
Steventon Village Hall, Steventon
Musical director: Terry Pearce
Pianist: Robert Thomas

The title of this year’s summer concerts came from the words ‘Old ones, New ones, Loved ones, Neglected ones’ used by Alberto Fernando Riccardo Semprini (known by his stage name as just Semprini) at the beginning of a radio show called ‘Semprini Serenade’ which he hosted for the BBC from 1957 until 1982.

The first half began with a four-part setting of The Road to Mandalay, a song based on three verses of a poem by Rudyard Kipling written in 1890 following a visit to Burma the previous year. This was followed by a samba version of It’s A Grand Night For Singing from State Fair, a 1945 musical film by Rodgers and Hammerstein and The Lost Chord by Sir Arthur Sullivan, written in 1877 at the bedside of his dying brother. Next a trio (Frances Brightman, Abbey Evans and Helen Pearce) sang two numbers. The first was California Dreamin’ written in 1963 by John and Michelle Philips, a husband and wife team who were founder members of the New Journeymen, a folk group which became the Mamas & Papas. The second was Lollipop, recorded by American singing group the Chordettes in 1957. Abby Evans then sang You Must Love Me, a song written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber for the 1996 film adaptation of the musical Evita. In sharp contrast the choir returned the popular Welsh hymn, Guide Me On Thy Great Redeemer (Cwm Rhondda), with the second verse sang by a quartet of Trish Napper, Vivienne Dann, Luke Le Maitre and Edward Dann. The ladies of the choir then sang an arrangement of I Leave My Heart In An English Garden from the 1950s musical Dear Miss Phoebe by Harry Parr Davies and Christopher Hassell before another solo, this time from Howard Feather who sang Love Changes Everything from Aspects of Love, which was released as a single in 1989. The first half ended with the choir singing I Know Him So Well from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Chess and a medley from My Fair Lady by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe, with solos from Hugh Hercus, Helen Pearce and George Russell.

A small group of dancers and their backing group – all in costume and complete with a chimney – began the second half with a medley of songs from Mary Poppins. John Hunt then entertained the audiences with some of his jokes and a performance of the comic monologue, The Runcorn Ferry, by Marriott Edgar featuring young Alfred Ramsbottom and his parents. A setting by Terry Pearce of the popular song, The Streets of London, first recorded by Ralph McTell in 1969 was the choir’s first number in the second half. The ladies then sang May It Be, a song composed by the Irish recording artist Enya for the 2001 film Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. Michelle Jochym and Helen Bell then sang Homeward Bound, a song written by a Las Vegas music teacher called Marta Keen Thompson for a loved one embarking on a new phase of life’s journey. Following another song from the show Chess sung by the choir, Helen Pearce sang two songs from Carousel, written by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1945: What’s the Use of Wond’rin and If I Love You. The theme of ‘love’ continued with Terry Pearce singing When I Fall In Love, based on his favourite version of the song by Nat King Cole. The concert ended with the choir singing Sit Down Your Rockin’ the Boat from the show Guys and Dolls (solo by Hugh Hercus) and a lively arrangement of Seventy Six Trombones from the 1957 Meredith Wilson show, The Music Man, which paints the picture of a large marching band made up of 76 trombones and many other wind instruments, and including ‘copper bottom tympani’ and 50 mounted cannon.

Spring Concert: Stainer’s Crucifixion and other sacred music for Palm Sunday
Sunday 25th March
St Michael & All Angels Church, Steventon
Musical director: Terry Pearce
Organist: Robert Thomas
Guest soloist: Leslie Macleod-Miller
Proceeds from the concert are going to towards new curtains for the Church Hall

First half

Panis Angelicus César Franck
The Lord is my Shepherd  (soloist: Helen Bell) Howard Goodall
Ave Maria – sung by Leslie Macleod-Miller Giulio Caccini
Peace Paul Mealor
How Beautiful – sung by Helen Pearce Twila Paris
Three pieces from Mendelssohn’s Elijah:
It is Enough – sung by Leslie Macleod Miller
Life Thine Eyes – sung by Helen Pearce, Rebecca Joisce, Helen Bell, Michelle Jochym, Abby Evans, Frances Brightman
He Watching Over Israel

Second half

The Crucifixion
Music by Sir John Stainer
Words by Revd J. Sparrow-Simpson

Tenor: Howard Feather
Bass-baritone: Leslie Macleod-Miller
with contributions from Jack Jarvis, Hugh Hercus and Phil Brazier

Winter Wonderland
Saturday 16th December and Thursday 21st December 2017
Steventon Village Hall, Steventon
Musical director: Terry Pearce
Pianist: Robert Thomas
Proceeds of Saturday’s concert went to the MSA Trust, which works to support those affected by multiple system atrophy (MSA), a progressive and incurable neurological disease.

The concert of carols and Christmas songs began with the choir singing the title song, Winter Wonderland. This was followed by two traditional Christmas pieces, Christmas Is Coming and List Our Merry Carol (second verse sung by Helen Bell and Michelle Jochym) and – in sharp contrast – Frosty the Snowman. Then it was time for the audience to join with the choir in singing three well-known carols – A Child This Day Is Born, In the Bleak Midwinter and Good King Wenceslas. The choir then sang four carols – an arrangement of O Little Town of Bethlehem by Walford Davies (soloist Rebecca Joisce), The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius (soloist Howard Feather), Deck The Hall and Away In A Manger (a version by Reginald Jacques based on a traditional Normandy tune). The first half ended with the choir singing three Christmas songs – Jingle Bell Rock, A Bit of Holiday Cheer and God Bless US Everyone.

The second half began with the choir singing The Christmas Song (known to many as Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire), before a small group (Terry Pearce, Helen Pearce, Trish Napper, Caroline Miller, Vivienne Dann, John Hunt, Hugh Hercus, Edward Dann and Andy Softley) sang a song about Carol Singers and a trio of ladies (Helen Pearce, Abby Evans and Elizabeth Dobson) sang an arrangement of the 1940s song, Let It Snow. Then it was the turn of the audience to sing again – Once in Royal David’s City and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night. Two light-hearted numbers followed from the choir – The 12 Days of Christmas (with props and actions) and The 12 Days After Christmas – a humorous song about what happens afterwards. Helen Pearce then sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, a song made famous by Judy Garland in the musical Meet Me In St Louis, and Terry Pearce led the audience in singing Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer, accompanying himself on the guitar. The choir returned to sing two John Rutter carols, Candlelight Carol and Christmas Lullaby, before the last of the audience participation carols – O Come All Ye Faithful. The concert ended with the choir singing Sing Out The News (with Helen Bell and Michelle Jochym) and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

Handel’s Messiah – Voices for Hospices 2017

Logo of Sir Michael Sobell House HospiceSaturday 7th October
St Michael’s and All Angels, Steventon
Musical director: Terry Pearce
Organist: Robert Thomas
Trumpet: Rebecca Lake

Soprano: Helen Pearce
Mezzo Soprano: Rebecca Joisce
Contralto: Elizabeth Dobson
Tenor: Howard Feather
Bass-Baritone: Leslie MacLeod-Miller

In aid of Sir Michael Sobell House Hospice  on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day