Praise from audience for Choir’s ninth concert

Carnoustie Choir gave a concert in Carnoustie Church on Tuesday evening.
Carnoustie Choir gave a concert in Carnoustie Church on Tuesday evening.

THE CARNOUSTIE Choir has presented its ninth annual concert in Carnoustie Parish Church.

The 72 members had been rehearsing since September to provide the usual eclectic mixture of pieces for the audience, which once again filled most of the ground floor of the church.

Musical director Stewart Fyffe had once again arranged the programme with themed choral pieces interspersed with items from the talented school age band Blazin’ Brass, comprising Matthew Buchan, Gregory Chaplain, Joanne Frier, Craig Knight and Scott Ness. The band was expertly conducted by Joe Walters, yet another young Carnoustie musician on his way to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow.

The choir opened with a selection of songs from Walt Disney films. ‘Zip a Dee Dooh Dah’ was followed by ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’. The tenors and basses then picked up their picks and shovels for ‘Heigh Ho’, complete with harmony whistling – not as easy as it seems!

This was followed by the ladies sweetly and hopefully singing that ‘Some Day My Prince Will Come’. ‘Hi Diddle Dee Dee’ from ‘Pinocchio’, ‘Feed The Birds’ from ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Bare Necessities’ from ‘The Jungle Book’ concluded the sequence.

Blazin’ Brass then played Mussorgsky’s ‘Promenade’, followed by one of Lennon and McCartney’s best: ‘Hey Jude’.

The choir have a tradition of including classical oratorio in the concerts, and this year they sang the beautiful ‘Lacrimosa’ from Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ with its dramatic dynamics well effected.

This was followed by Blazin’ Brass playing Leslie Pearson’s jazzy ‘Hip Lips’ followed by Gus Kahn’s ‘Dream a Little Dream With Me’ - ideal for a slow foxtrot, as members of the audience of a certain vintage were no doubt thinking.

The last item before the interval was a sequence of songs from the American Civil War – a conflict that spawned more than a normal number of singable songs. ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ was followed by ‘Old Folks at Home’ and ‘Marching Through Georgia’ both of which required the audience to join in the choruses.

The ladies of the choir sang the haunting ‘Vacant Chair’, then the men kept the sentimental theme going with ‘Laura Lee’. After ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ the sequence and the first half of the concert concluded with a stirring rendition of the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, with brass accompaniment.

Following the interval the choir sang five songs in ‘The Modern Section’ though one might argue about whether the 1970s were part of the modern era. The Carpenters’ ‘Top of the World’ was followed by Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. After the Sting hit ‘Fields of Gold’ came two contrasting John Denver pieces: ‘Grandma’s Feather Bed’ and ‘Country Roads’.

Blazin’ Brass concluded their splendid contribution to the evening’s entertainment with John Kander’s ‘New York, New York’, then a medley of tunes by the great Glenn Miller - ‘Miller’s Magic’, arranged by Lorenzo Bocci.

The choir’s finale was the ‘Brindisi’ from Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. This required the tenors to sing the tenor solo line, which they did with gusto, and the sopranos to do the same with the soprano solo sections. Once again ‘Blazin’ Brass’ added their support as the concert ended on a high. As it turned out, that was not the end, for, as an encore, the choir charged round the London Underground to the tune of Offenbach’s ‘Can-Can’, the witty lyrics being from the pen of Stephen Fry.

Stewart Fyffe, who had arranged many of the pieces, introduced the programme in his familiar informal style. The piano accompaniment was, for a second year, in the capable hands of Sheena Guthrie.

Next year will be the tenth anniversary of the founding of the choir, and members of the audience were provided with slips in their programmes on which they were asked to make suggestions of music that they would like to hear at the 2012 concert.

J.H.