We had a wonderful 90th Birthday concert held at St John’s School, Leatherhead. Saturday July 1st was an excessively hot day, and temperatures in the afternoon reached well over 30c, but we managed to rehearse and perform with windows and doors open. There were tuning difficulties for some of the orchestral instruments and the organ due to the heat. Sunlight streaming in caused huge problems for some singers - trying to see Ian’s directions. But everyone managed cheerfully and coped with the adversity! It was remarkable that nobody moaned and groaned - we just coped cheerfully! The men sang in open neck shirts, as we abandoned the claret bow ties in deference to the heat. We were privileged to sing with a fantastic professional orchestra - Camerata, and four young talented soloists from the Royal College of Music.
In the first half, we were delighted to sing the newly commissioned piece by our composition competition winner, Paul Burnell. This piece, “A Birthday “ was a modern and fresh, rhythmical setting of the famous Christina Rossetti poem. We were very pleased to welcome Paul Burnell to the audience to hear this premier performance. The competition which we held in Autumn 2017, had attracted over 120 entries from all over the world.
We also sang some favourite works as voted by the choir to mark our 90th anniversary. We opened with Handel’s “Zadok the Priest”. This is always a rousing favourite with many choirs, and we really did it justice. The other pieces we sang were from Karl Jenkins’ The Armed man -Benedictus, and Ian Assersohn’s “Everyone sang.” I think all was well received by the audience. There was something for everyone here, covering different style choral works. Many of the audience had given up watching an important World Cup football match that evening to join us instead, and no one looked at all miserable, in fact quite the reverse!
After an enjoyable interval, with drinks served at the outdoor bar in the still hot summer evening, we finished the concert with Haydn’s Nelson Mass. The soloists were fantastic, and the choir rose to the occasion with a terrific performance of this well known work. Ian was pleased with us, and it was a tremendous finish to our summer term, and celebration of our 90th Birthday. It was lovely to see so many of our friends and those connected to LCS joining us in the audience for this special concert. I was so proud of all my fellow choral friends at LCS.
Chair, Leatherhead Choral Society