Youth Choir parent, Andrea Lark, looks back at the Youth Choir's Summer Concert on Friday 12 July 2019.
All photographs by Ian R Marshall Photography
On a sunny Friday in mid-July (not a raindrop in sight!) the Cathedral Youth Choir gathered for their summer concert and much-anticipated performance of “Captain Noah and his floating zoo”. The excitement in the Cathedral Hall was palpable. This was to be the culmination of several weeks of intense rehearsal for the 30+ members of the Youth Choir, who range in age from 7 – 18.
To open the concert, the large and supportive audience of family, friends, parishioners and Cathedral clergy were treated to a range of individual items to open the concert. The girls’ group Vivace sang a beautiful arrangement of “Dream a little dream of me” with musical sensitivity, whilst boys’ group Cambiata’s moving performance of the spiritual “Steal away” created a prayerful sense of calm. Several solo instrumental and vocal items followed, including the piano works “Raindrop Prelude” by Chopin, JS Bach’s “ Gigue in G major”, an arrangement for oboe of Fauré’s “Après un rêve”, and a piano arrangement of “Alice the camel”, this latter played with confidence and enthusiasm by one of the Youth Choir’s youngest members.
Solo singers performed from a similarly diverse range of genres, spanning pop songs and traditional folk melodies, as well as music from films, opera and musicals. The young people’s love of music and their enthusiasm for sharing this in performance was a joy to see and greatly appreciated by the warmly supportive audience.
The first half of the concert concluded with the presentation by Bishop Patrick of certificates to the five ‘founding’ members of Vivace who will leave Nottingham at the end of the summer to pursue higher education. Their energy (the group is aptly named!) and commitment as well as their support for the youngest members of the choir will be missed.
Following a brief interval, the Youth Choir gathered to perform “Captain Noah and his floating zoo”. Written in 1970 by Joseph Horowitz, with often humorous lyrics by Michael Flanders, this cantata retells the story of Noah from Genesis chapters 6 – 9. The choir clearly enjoyed performing this and made the challenging music sound easy (I’m assured by Youth Choir Director Ellie Martin that it’s not!). The harmonisations, tricky rhythmic phrases and at times demanding tempo were tackled with confidence, and the singers responded sensitively to the mood of the music, and were attentive to their (very accomplished!) pianist, and to Ellie’s direction. Every word was crisply enunciated and clearly audible, and the singers captured the mood of the music brilliantly. As the monotonous drumming of the rain petered out, the younger members went happily “running down the gangplank” and the singers joyfully announced the appearance of the rainbow and God’s promise never to send another flood in the uplifting final waltz.
This collective team effort from the Youth Choir, its Director Ellie, rehearsal pianist Eden, and accompanist for the concert, Michael Martin, contributed to an engaging performance of a very high standard. As a parent of a ‘retiring’ member of the Youth Choir it was lovely to see, once again, the choir members’ enjoyment in singing together, the joy they bring to others and the strength and enthusiasm with which they contribute to the musical life of the Cathedral.