Unaccompanied Havant Choir, Folks in Harmony, sang to a packed house and showed just why they won the Choir of the Day award at the Portsmouth Music Festival.
Their carefully blended harmonies coupled with expressive and animated singing were a treat to listen to and it was clear that they loved what they were doing. The concert, at The Church of the Resurrection in Drayton was a sell-out and over 100 people were able to enjoy it, as it raised £759 for local charities.
The first half consisted of Songs from the Shows and included numbers from Oliver, Les Miserables and Martin Guerre to name but a few. This mixed choir showed they can do loud and raucous as they enthusiastically belted out ‘Consider Yourself’ from Oliver! complete with cockney accents. A swift change of mood followed with the sweetly sung ‘Where is Love’ medley from the same musical. The evocative ‘Bethlehem’ from Martin Guerre as well as the deeply emotional ‘Bring him Home’ from Les Mis brought tears to the eyes, while the menacing ‘Do you Hear the People Sing?’ made you fear for your life.
This choir can do solos too. Alto and co-Music Director Mary Anne Beames sang ‘On my Own’ with a beautiful tone and Colin Browne performed ‘Summertime’ from Porgy and Bess in a deeply resonant bass voice. Soprano Jan Treacher-Evans was the third soloist and displayed her wide singing range with the haunting ‘Memory’ from Cats. Ollie Butler also performed a most amusing self-penned monologue called ‘At your Convenience’ which is about – well I’m sure you can guess!
The second half was more of a mixed bag and kicked off with ‘Cabaret’ from the show of that name and set the tone for the rest of the performance. A traditional folk song arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams was beautifully sung by soloist Connor Judd, backed up by the choir. Classic pop songs such as ‘Right Here Waiting,’ ‘When I’m 64’ and ‘Everything I Do’ showed off the choir’s versatility as they brought love, disappointment and fun to their performance.
Tenor and co-Music Director Connor Judd played 2 classical pieces on the piano – Life by Einaudi and Clair de Lune by Debussy, widening this choir’s repertoire still further. The country duet, Jackson, well sung by Lin Longhurst and Colin Browne, showcased yet another genre of music.
What can I say? There’s a Hole in my Bucket sung by Ollie Butler and Mike Wright, as well as the hilarious sketch ‘Senior Moments’ rewritten by Ollie, showed that this choir can act as well as sing! The Ladies’ Group sang the pop classic ‘Lean on Me’ as if they really meant it too.
The choir ended with the opening theme music from The Vicar of Dibley, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd,’ and an ‘Island in the Sun’ medley. Special mention must be made of talented all-rounder Peter Mumford, who sings tenor, is a co-Music Director, accompanied one of the soloists on the piano, and arranged all the Oliver! pieces into SATB.
Event Co-ordinator Jackie Mumford said, “What a performance the show was. It was enjoyed by both the audience and the choir and made a fantastic profit for our 3 charities. What a wealth of talent we have within the choir from singing and playing solos to writing comedic scripts. Well done everyone!”
Local charities, The MS Society Of Chichester & Bognor, Zellweger UK, and Rachel Madocks School will all be given £253 each from the profits of the show.
Choir Chairman Fran May said, “Now that our Summer Show is over we would welcome new members. Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings in the Bedhampton Social Centre at 7.30pm. You can visit our website www.folksinharmony.co.uk or ring 023 9247 7900 for more information. We are also available for bookings.