REVIEW: Ely Choral Society’s ‘Sing Choirs of Angels’ at St Mary’s Church Ely is full of splendid moments

Andrew Parnell.

Andrew Parnell. - Credit: Archant

I always look forward to Ely Society’s Christmas Concert, for this concert, above all, seems to create the feeling that Christmas is truly upon us. This year was no exception.

David Ford

David Ford - Credit: Archant

The Choral Society and the Youth Choir, conducted by Andrew Parnell and accompanied on organ or piano by Edmund Aldhouse, gave us some splendid moments.

The choir members sang with great vitality and joy, tackling some complex works and revelling in the powerful beauty of their most glorious climaxes. Edmund displayed phenomenal technique and sensitivity especially in the embellishments in Charpentier’s ‘Messe de Minuit’. He was also a swift mover as he dashed backwards and forward from organ to piano and return as the programme required without a moment of delay in the programme.

Highlights for me were the vivacious opening ‘Sweet Love’ by the conductor, the Zither Carol arranged by Paul Trepte, John Rutter’s ‘Angel’s Carol’ and the final rhythmical ‘Ding, dong merrily on high’ arranged by Stuart Nicholson. The first of these works were positively charming, carefully controlled (especially with diction) and when harmonized, beautiful.

There were other composers in the audience besides Andrew and they were David Ford and Keith Bennett. After Andrew’s ‘Sweet Love’ came a worthy composition by David Ford whose ‘Angels from the Realms’ was extremely effective and presented well by the choir. The other arranger in the midst of the audience was Keith Bennett who created an intriguing fabric in his ‘Lullay, Jesu’.

The readings, audience participation carols and the choice of other carols and songs in the programme provided an overall excellent evening of entertainment and good music. I look forward to next year.

A next event by Ely Choral Society to enjoy is Bach’s St. John Passion on Saturday 24th March 2018 In Ely Cathedral 730pm.