Arun Choral Society proudly presented their Annual Spring Concert which this year included an array of favourite choruses from the classics. The music ranged from the Baroque period featuring Vivaldi and Handel, through the Classical period with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, followed by Romantics Mendelssohn, Bruckner and Faure (sung in impeccable French!) and ended with popular C20th British composers Hubert Parry and John Stainer

The choir looked festive with their pale peach and pink accessories lighting up their dark suits.

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Musical Director John Henville introduced each item with well-chosen words and information (the programme notes gave the texts only). Organist Nicholas King accompanied everything with great panache, apart from the two unaccompanied choruses: Bruckner’s Locus Iste and Stainer’s God So Loved the World. It is the greatest challenge for a large choir to deliver a cappella without losing pitch, especially with the higher notes, but for the most part they succeeded with these two highly reverential and beautiful anthems.

It was a great pleasure to listen to two remarkably gifted young people – both winners in the annual Arun Young Musician Festival (AYM) First we heard 14 year old James Dew who played the energetic 1st movement from Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C. He was ably accompanied by pianist Chris Coote. Later on, James played Bach’s Prelude from the solo Cello Suite no 3 with great authority. After the performance, John Henville remarked that this young musician had a “prodigious future ahead of him” James is a student at the Royal College of Music (RCM) Junior department and has played in several concerts and masterclasses among world-class artistes.

In the second half of the concert we heard last year’s overall AYM winner, 17 year old Zoe Barnett, play her guitar. It was a happy coincidence that she chose another Bach Cello Suite which had been specially arranged for guitar! This sounded lovely, and later on she played a contrasting piece called Torija and Alcazar de Segovia (from Castles of Spain) by Fredrico Morena-Torroba, which showed Zoe’s great versatility of style. She too will be studying at the RCM from September. The choir showed their appreciation by presenting bouquets to their two young guests. They also sponsor AYM by donating a prize to the best choir in the festival.

The concert ended with two great Handel blockbusters – See, the Conquering Hero Comes, and of course Zadok the Priest. The latter, and Parry’s I was Glad, which we heard earlier, have been performed at every Coronation since they were composed

Altogether a most enjoyable and uplifting evening. Congratulations to all concerned!

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