Concentus Sings Christmas in Eastbourne, review: St Saviour’s Church, December 14

Concentus rehearsing before the concert
Concentus rehearsing before the concert

Concentus is a large choir.

Their concerts usually begin in Seaford and then are repeated in Eastbourne, but this year Eastbourne’s St Saviour’s Church rang to their singing on Saturday, December 14, with Seaford’s Baptist Church set to hear the same music on the 21st.

Musical director Adrian White was in great form, despite recent surgery requiring a pair of crutches.

The church was packed, with the Mayor and Eastbourne’s new MP enjoying every minute.

Some two dozen items ranged from Handel and Mendelssohn to Wilson and Schram. Throughout, the accompanist was Anthony Wilson, who impressed not only with his musicality but also with his fleetness of foot as he sprinted from the keyboard to the far-distant organ ‘loft’ (which is fortunately not in the loft).

What also impressed was the fact that solos were almost invariably sung by Concentus choir-members. A beautiful voice and a sound technique were noted in Gaye Hyde’s performance of ‘How Great Thou Art’. And Adrian was able not only to coax exciting power from his choir in Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’, but to produce exquisitely floated pianissimo in Whittaker’s ‘Seal Lullaby’.

‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ brought forward soloists Gayle Pitts and Louise Soper (assistant musical director), singing with organ; and then the men were to the fore in ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, with the keyboard ‘becoming’ a piano.

A good choir always dresses well, and Concentus not only were smart and colourful, but could transform themselves in a flash by donning silly hats and waving sundry ‘props’.

Wrongly-judged this could have been annoying, but whoever choreographed this eye-catching ‘extra’ knew exactly where to draw the line. Great stuff !

Concentus performs at St Saviour’s again at 7pm on Saturday, June 20. Not to be missed!

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