Hilary O’Donoghue’s students starred in this concert and they certainly illuminated it, alongside the talented Andante Quartet. The audience glimpsed a world of love – for our countryside, home, life, people and God – during this forty-five minutes of varied and moving songs.
Bill Ridsdale opened the programme with a strong performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Whither must I wander’, a reflective piece contemplating loss and hope. ‘As Time Goes By’ introduced the universal theme of love with its pain and happiness.
Lucy Clark, from Lord Grey School, followed this with ‘Hushabye Mountain’, her lilting voice perfectly suiting this lullaby piece. In the challenging ‘Songbird’ by Eva Cassidy, she skilfully captured its sense of heartfelt love and longing. The Andante Quartet changed the tempo with a calypso style version of ‘Sloop John B’ and a great rendition of the staunch favourite – Any Dream Will Do’, wonderfully accompanied by pianist Ros Whatmore.
We were then treated to Christine Salmon’s performance of Schubert’s ‘Wiegenlied’, a pleasant and engaging song, and ‘Something Wonderful’, where the depth of emotion was strongly conveyed. Claire Folkes, from Walton High, sang the beautiful aria ‘Voi Che Sapete’ from ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, captivating the audience as she smoothly and serenely negotiated the complex range and diversity of Mozart’s music. She followed this with the contrasting ‘Where Is Love?’ from ‘Oliver’, again showing mastery over the emotional range.
Gabriella Policino, also from Walton High, entranced us all with ‘On My Own’ from ‘Les Miserables’ – such a powerful and commanding performance of this lovely song. Was there a dry eye in the house at the end? ‘Not That Girl’ was Gabriella’s next choice and again her ability to convey deep seated emotion was revealed. What strengths in singing these young people showed us.
Tallis’ ‘If Ye Love Me’ and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Crown of Roses’ from the Quartet almost brought the concert to a close; but the actual finale was remarkable in its poignancy, clarity and sense of hope. All the singers performed Howard Goodall’s moving piece ‘I believe in the Sun’, first performed for National Holocaust Memorial Day. Truly a thought provoking lunchtime concert with exceptional talent.
The retiring collection raised £60.35 towards the organ casework. Thank you to all the performers, helpers and the audience.
by Andrea Hearne, photos by Richard Hearne