Thu, 05 Jul 2018
Cromwell's Summer Bouquet memorial concert
The Cromwell Singers recent Summer Bouquet of music was well-received at St John’s Church, Newbury (see below for review).
On Saturday they will perform the same programme at a memorial concert for Tessa Rushforth at St Michael and All Angels' Church, Lambourn at 7pm.
Tessa Rushforth and her husband Peter lived in Lambourn Woodlands for many years and had their own smallholding. Tessa was extremely active in village life, contributing in numerous ways.
She belonged to the choir of St Michael and All Angels and was a long-standing member of the Cromwell Singers. She was well-known and loved by many and since her tragic riding accident, missed and mourned by all her friends.
Her kindness, enthusiasm and sense of humour will be remembered by all who knew her. The funds from Saturday's concert will be for the church restoration fund and Motor Neuron Disease, a charity close to Tessa's heart.
The Cromwell Singers: Cromwells’ Summer Bouquet, at St John’s Church, Newbury, on Sunday, June 24
Last Sunday’s concert given by the Cromwell Singers was a most enjoyable occasion.
The programme had a welcome mix of choral singing, instrumental music and audience participation. Conductor and compère Sarah Cope, with her wonderful sense of fun, ensured that everybody had a good time.
As there were more than 20 musical treats for us to enjoy, I have chosen a selection for this review. An early highlight for me was the choir’s beautiful performance of Schubert’s Ave Maria. Their voices surrounded us with a rich tapestry of sound.
Throughout the concert I was impressed with the choir’s clear diction, effective use of dynamics and by the number of singers who kept in regular eye-contact with the conductor. They are very fortunate in their superb accompanist Daphne George.
I so enjoyed the choir’s performance of John Rutter’s I will sing with the Spirit. Their singing floated serenely over the gentle piano accompaniment and ended in a magical Alleluia. A bright and lively rendition of Laus Deo by John Leavitt was rhythmically impressive, dramatic and exciting.
As part of their aim to encourage talented young musicians, the Cromwell Singers had invited 13-year-old violinist Elliot Crouch to perform.
Playing with great eloquence and skill, this young artist joined Daphne George in accompanying the first two songs in the programme. His expressive performance of the popular Romance from the Gadfly Suite by Shostakovich was met with well-deserved enthusiastic applause.
We were delighted to join the choir in two songs by Gilbert & Sullivan – we were having fun.
Daphne George treated us to an arrangement for piano of Fauré’s song Après un Rêve. Playing with a lovely lyricism, her passionate and expressive rendition was rich in poetry.
The choir gave a sparkling performance of Borodin’s Polotsvian Dances, full of Oriental splendour. These ‘slaves in exile’ contrasted to great effect their joyful praises of Khan Konchak with their choruses of nostalgia for their home country. The final chorus ended in glorious exhilaration.
Congratulations to all the performers who made this concert such a success.
The proceeds from the concert went to Stroke Care, Newbury, and St John’s Church funds.