REVIEW: Angmering Chorale

Angmering Chorale
Angmering Chorale

Broadway is all about Showbiz so this Concert by Angmering Chorale was quite a departure from their usual fare.

Could they pull it off since such music would stretch their talents in a very different way? A large enthusiastic audience at Angmering School clearly thought they could and, to our great delight, they did!

Over 90 singers graced the stage under the direction of George Jones with the Chorale’s own Alison Manton (piano) and other distinguished professionals Dan Hawkins (bass guitar) and Jon Howells (drums/percussion) providing the accompaniment.

The first half, narrated by David Rooke and Wendy Baker, told the story of Broadway from its early beginnings in Tin Pan Alley (Rodgers, Hart, Kern etc.) right up to the present day (Sondheim, Lloyd Webber etc.). Our memorable journey comprised a potpourri of big stage choruses from an amazing selection of shows, garnished with soloists from the choir’s ranks. Most Chorale concerts feature professional soloists so it was fantastic to witness such a plethora of talent from those whom we normally hear only as part of the whole ensemble. What is more, all had bravely volunteered to take on this, somewhat daunting, task in front of such a large audience. The abundance of happy smiling faces, quality singing and rapturous applause after each medley clearly showed that EVERYONE was enjoying their evening.

With so many brightly shining stars, could our evening get any better? Well yes because George Jones introduced us to Emily Williams, a very special guest artiste and current holder of the prestigious title of Arun Young Musician Singer of the Year. Only 15 years old but with a mature and really beautiful voice, Emily gave her rendition of Poor Wandering One from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, the pair’s fifth collaboration and the only one to have had its official première on Broadway (1879). Emily’s performance showed mastery throughout the range and, in spite of very demanding ornamentations, was simply stunning!

After very welcome refreshment, the concert continued with songs from Mamma Mia, West Side Story, and Joseph. Michelle Woodward excelled in the Abba and, not to be outdone, her father, John really was The King, complete with shades and silver waistcoat, in the popular Presley parody from Joseph.

Interspersed with these medleys, we once again relished the exquisite Emily Williams in the, rather dark, Fine Fine Line from Avenue Q. Far removed from the operatic style of G&S, this showed that she clearly has the versatility and talent to succeed in her desired career in musical theatre.

Departing briefly from Broadway, delightful choral sounds abounded in Paul Mealor’s Wherever You Are featuring the angelic voice of Emma Hattersley who is, perhaps, the Chorale’s youngest member.

More wonderful soloists and choral harmonies featured in the rousing finale, a selection from one of the finest stage musicals of all, Les Misérables.

There really is no business like show-business and the standing ovation was fully justified.

Jim Hurdwell