Concerts and Reviews
A Summer Serenade
Sunday 10th July 2022, 6:00 pm, Hayward Theatre, King’s Ely.
Our next concert will be ‘A Summer Serenade’ and will be a selection of summer music by Elgar, Delius, Vaughan Williams and Lennon and McCartney and will feature Ely Choral Society, the Ely Youth Choir, the Medlock String Quartet and John Wyatt piano conducted by Andrew Parnell.
Tickets £18 and £5 for U18s, including summer drinks, from choir members and Burrows newsagents from mid-June.
Review of Ely Choral Society’s concert on Saturday 9th April 2022 in Ely Cathedral
Ely Choral Society presented a magnificent concert on Saturday. Under the directorship of Andrew Parnell, the choir produced some splendid sounds that created moving effects, ranging from moments of reflection with gentle, peaceful well-blended harmony to tremendous, dramatic climaxes. This night celebrated Andrew’s 20 years as conductor of the choir and the first premier of his composition, The Alpha and Omega was a very fitting and moving tribute.
The shadow of Ukraine was present at this concert, with the conductor and choir members wearing ribbons with Ukraine’s colours and the collection afterwards was for Ukraine and its suffering people.
The programme was well-chosen to reflect this. The first piece, ‘The Peacemakers’ by Sasha Johnson Manning, had its premier too, and the audience in Ely Cathedral was mesmerised as this fine choir sang unaccompanied. The title was echoed splendidly in the words and beautiful soft harmonies of the music.
This plea for peace was aptly followed by Andrew’s ‘Alpha and Omega’ that used texts from the Bible, reassuring us that God is ever-present and ever powerful and is an eternal source of succour and relief. It was clear that Andrew knew all about choirs and how to use them effectively. Many times, his music asked the women voices in angelic thirds, to be followed by the deeper reassuring men’s voices before joining together, giving the feeling that there were indeed two powerful elements at play. The soprano soloist, Tara Bungard, reflected the words ‘a pure river of water of life’ perfectly with a delicious purity in her voice while the pianists, Maurice Hodges and Marie-Noelle Kendal accompanied cohesively giving tremendous weight to the climaxes.
The final work of the evening was Brahms’ ‘Requiem’ – another fitting composition for the theme of the concert. The dark, haunting depths of the second movement that recur: ‘Dan alles Fleisch es ist wie gras’ (For all flesh is like grass) optimised the overawing effects that death has on us. Hearing this work in German was indeed the right decision – the music matching the natural stresses and meanings of the words so well. Thanks go to the programme producer for providing the translation to assist those of us who are not fluent in German!
In this work, Brahms’ familiar expansive style was quickly recognisable and particularly well managed by the performers. The pianists were being asked to stretch their fingers and master phenomenal passages, and the choir was given the opportunity for their voices to rise heavenward with delightful swells in the rising phrases. The baritone soloists, Jeremy Burrows, gave an impressively moving performance, giving strength to the pathos of the words that reflected the brevity of our human lives.
This was indeed a very moving concert. Their next event will be on Sunday the 10th of July at 6 p.m. in the Hayward Theatre, King’s Ely.
For more information about Ely Choral Society contact: www.