It’s always a joy to sing alongside another choir and this joint concert, hosted by the Swift Singers and held in Holy Trinity Church in South Woodham Ferrers, was no exception. With their Musical Director Tim Rhys-Morgan conducting and Derrick Thompson accompanying, the Swifts started the concert off with ‘Why We Sing’ following that with ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.
If not all audience members were familiar with the Swift’s first two pieces, everyone knew the next piece – Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from the show The Lion King. The Swifts finished their first set with ‘Only You’.
Then it was the visiting choir, the Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir’s, turn. Musical Director Janet Walker conducted with Kay Duell accompanying.
The Leigh Orpheus’s first piece was ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’. Next came two love songs – ‘Love is all Around’ and ‘This Nearly Was Mine’. The Leigh Orpheus’s multilingual skills then took them to singing, unaccompanied, ‘Siyahambe’ in Zulu and their final piece in this set, ‘Gwahoddiad’ in Welsh.
To bring the first half of the concert to an end the ladies returned to the stage to join the men in singing ‘You Raise Me Up’ together.
Then it was the interval. Refreshments for free and Raffle Tickets for sale.
The second half started with the Leigh Orpheus singing two songs connected with the sea, but with very different styles. First was the sea shanty ‘Wellerman’ in which Deputy MD Dave Smith sang the solo verses. Then a further demonstration of the Leigh Orpheus’s language skills as they sang Pokarekare Ana in Māori. A Queen/Freddie Mercury theme then emerged with the Leigh Orpheus singing ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘We are the Champions’, including enthusiastic participation of audience members waving their arms in true Queen Concert style. Time to announce the Raffle Prize winners then on to the Swift’s final set. The Queen/Freddie Mercury theme which had been started by the Leigh Orpheus continued with the Swifts singing the epic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. That was followed by the contrasting ‘When I am Silent’, and then ‘Stand by Me’, ‘The Lily and the Rose’ and ‘Let the River Run’.
The Leigh Orpheus then joined the Swifts again for the final piece – a quodlibet (meaning a musical composition in which well-known melodies are combined). This quodlibet, arranged by Jimmy Shirl and Al Stillman, and conducted by both conductors was ‘I Believe’ and ‘Ave Maria.
It had only been rehearsed once together earlier in the evening but went down so well with the audience that not only was there a standing ovation, it was also requested as an encore.
A great evening. Thanks to the lovely audience. Thanks to the Swift Singers - the Leigh Orpheus are looking forward to singing with you again.