CAROLS AND TEA FROM EASTBOURNE CHORAL SOCIETY

Robin Gregory reviews the December 06 concert at the TUpperton United Reform Church

On December 17th Upperton United Reform Church welcomed Eastbourne Choral Society, with conductor John Hancorn and organist Mark Smith, for an afternoon of Carols. The audience joined in four favourites, and the choir showed its class in several Christmas songs and excerpts from choral masterworks.
It was an inspired idea to begin the performance with “Gaudete”, in which the conductor beat out the rhythms on a drum. Equally successful were choruses by Bach and Handel, choral arrangements of “Ding Dong Merrily” and “Bleak Midwinter”, and perhaps the high-spot of the afternoon — “Shepherd’s Farewell” by Berlioz. The inclusion of sensitive readings of well- chosen prose should have provided a happy contrast, but regrettably the microphone on the pulpit seemed unavailable, and all but the front few rows had difficulty hearing Longfellow’s “Three Kings” and Bob Copper’s “Every Season”. The voices of soprano soloist Shirlene Billeness and tenor Rod Brown easily soared to every corner of the handsome church.
The Eastbourne Choral Society now has a good balance of voices, and certainly presented an afternoon of seasonal delights. The audience was even provided with well-printed hymn- sheets and a delicious tea, all for a total of £5. That’s value, surely. On February 10th
the Society plans to perform the Fauré and Rutter Requiems at the Town Hall: not to be missed!
ROBIN GREGORY 

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