Last Saturday night’s Market Rasen and District Choral Society concert celebrated the society’s quarter of a century in its current form.
Twenty-five years ago, Thea Hogg established a regular pattern of music for the society and her enthusiasm led and encouraged the choir into areas of music where they had never ventured – and in some cases music they had never heard of before.
When Thea retired in 2008, the choir was fortunate to find local teacher and musician Colin Lesser who led them in a rather different way which was equally challenging.
Regular supporters will remember the diversity of the Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet and the successful bid for funding from the BBC Performing Arts Fund – Choral Ambition Scheme.
For the past three years, Jeff Blewett has been the conductor.
Jeff is a well-known leader in Male Voice Choir circles and sings in his own close harmony group, Fourum.
The celebration concert featured some serious music, as well as light hearted pieces.
The music showed off the capabilities of the choir well, with favourites such as Zadok the Priest and the Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly getting a great reception.
Julia Cullen sang beautifully in Mendelssohn’s Hear my Prayer, which included the famous soprano solo, O for the Wings of a Dove.
In the second half, we were given an Italian Salad (a musical jest in the form of the Finale to an Italian Opera) with a fine bass solo from John Thornally. To complement the ensemble singing, a small choir lead by Thea Hogg sang Let’s do it, Autumn Leaves and Old Macdonald had a Farm, where the men excelled themselves with what can only be described as farmyard noises.
Finally, the concert ended with audience and choir singing all-time favourites, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.
From the smiles on the faces of the audience and the applause it was clear that all had put on a very good performance. Mention must also be made of the first rate piano accompaniment provided by Rowland Lee.
With standards like these, there is a strong future for choral music in the Market Rasen District and we should look forward the Society’s concert of Christmas Music on December 15 in the town’s Methodist Church.