Little Waldingfield History Society was delighted to host a concert last weekend by the St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir (SEMVC), in aid of the St Lawrence church fabric fund, fulfilling a long held ambition of John Sparkes, a choir member, to put on a concert for villagers. John very kindly sponsored the concert, to which we had a huge response, absolutely filling the church with people and wonderful music, and raising more than £1,500 in the process.
Here are some of the responses from concertgoers who sent me their assessment after the event - all their own words, not mine:
- Absolutely amazing result. Well done to everyone. It was a great evening.
- Huge thanks for a wonderful evening and a fantastic outcome for the repair fund.
- A great result for a great concert. Thanks to everyone involved. A Resounding success.
- A most brilliant outcome. The concert was definitely a resounding success.
- What a great result for the Fabric Fund for the Church, and it provided a most enjoyable evening of music for all. Our church has not heard a choir like that in a long time, if ever!
- Well done to all those who worked so hard to put on such a brilliant evening, we really enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next one!
- Wonderful news. Mark and the choir thoroughly enjoyed the event. You were a great audience because you were smiling!
My own assessment of the choir echoed all of the above, but with the following additional comments:
- At times during the performance, a blindfolded member of the audience would have sworn they were listening to a Welsh male voice choir, then to a South African choir, then to a gospel choir. The repertoire, range and accomplishment of SEMVC was simply astounding.
- The musicians accompanying the choir on guitar and piano were brilliant, providing a magnificent platform for the choir to build upon.
- The conductor was clearly superb at his job, both when conducting and then in establishing a great rapport with the audience, who clearly loved every minute of the programme.
- Classic Femme, with their astonishingly powerful individual voices, were a wonderful counterpoint to SEMVC on the shared pieces, which were a delight to hear.
The programme was deliberately varied, both to create interest for the audience and display the tremendous range, versatility and sheer professionalism of the choir; songs performed included the following and many more:
- ‘Seal Lullaby' by Eric Whitacre, from a poem by Rudyard Kipling - delightful.
- ‘Sure on this shining night' by Morten Lauridsen, from a poem by James Agee - superb.
- ‘African Trilogy' (Siyahamba, Shosholoza, National anthem of South Africa) - simply astonishing sounds from the choir and amazing solo performance for additional highlighting.
- ‘Mustang Sally' by Mark Rice and arranged by Ed Thomson Jones - the first song after the intermission and one that really got the audience going.
- ‘Angels' by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, arranged by Christopher Hussey - a real crowd pleaser brilliantly performed.
- ‘Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars et al, arranged by Mark Brymer - incredible.
Our 128 audience, who nicely filled St Lawrence, thoroughly enjoyed the concert, whilst the church, besides being a truly atmospheric space, helped create a wondrous sound which at times moved more than a few members of the audience to tears of joy during the performance.
Our next event will be on 7th December at 7.30 pm, when Michael Rimmer will introduce us to the Angel Roofs of East Anglia to reveal the history and development of these most fascinating works of art. As he notes in his book of the same name (highly recommended by the way) "Nowhere outside England can be found such a series of magnificent timber roofs as those which Westminster Hall and the angel roofs of East Anglia are examples".
Between 1395 and about 1530, several hundred were built in England; more than 140 survive to this day, almost exclusively in churches, predominantly in East Anglia and particularly in Suffolk and Norfolk. More than 90% of England's figurative medieval art was obliterated during the reformation, and it is incredibly fortuitous that angel roofs were simply too high too reach easily.
Michael's outstanding photographs will unveil to us all the astonishing detail and remarkable visual quality of these fantastic ecclesisatical objects dating from Tudor times and before. This talk will make a great introduction to the festive season, and we very much look forward to welcoming guests new and old to the Parish Room on Wednesday 7th December for what is going to be a most wonderful introduction to this fascinating piece of our local shared heritage.
To book tickets (£2.00 members, £4.00 non-members) please contact any of the following:
Sue Sheppard on 01787 247980;
Di Langford on 01787 248298; or
Andy Sheppard at firstname.lastname@example.org