It was billed as a concert of Twin Town Choirs., Chansons Cordiales, with free entry to all.
Haverhill Choral Society was host to a choir who had travelled from Pont St Esprit, Haverhill’s French twin town, way down in Provence.
The foreign guests, Les Voix de Si de La .a small choir of around 20, began the concert under the clear direction of Georges Ciontu, who mostly, but not entirely, led from the piano. The choir performed pieces in five different languages, and although lacking a little in male voices, (as were the Haverhill Choral Society in terms of numbers and balance), they gave sometimes sensitive, and always enthusiastic renditions of all their pieces. The highlight of their program for me was the penultimate piece, Sangena, brimming with style and musicality.
Nigel Brown., the local organ ‘legend’ needs no introduction to those who have been to OIC and Choral Society concerts before. He accompanied some of the French pieces and then as an interlude played a magnificent piece by Herbert Howells. Later on in the concert, as well as accompanying all of HCS’s pieces, Nigel breezed through Widor’s ‘Toccata’, a popular organ piece, brilliantly executed as always.
Haverhill Choral took to the stage in tile second part, and the strength of the choir, albeit it twice as large in number became instantly obvious. Under the masterful directorship of Jane Wright, now MD for fifteen years, they started with three classical pieces including Mendelssohn’s ‘Hear my Prayer’ and ‘O. for the wings of a dove’ the solos sung beautifully in pure tone by Lynn Kowalski. The mood was lightened after these pieces by items such as Lloyd Webber’s ‘Memory’ and Burt Bacharach’s ‘Close to you’. The choir sang both types of music with good style and were clearly enjoying the performance, something that came across clearly to the audience.
The choirs combined tor the final three pieces, filling the wonderful acoustic of the OIC with sound. Orff’s ‘0 Fortuna’ was a fitting finale to a splendid night’s entertainment. The concert was enjoyed by over 100 people, many of whom also partook in the post-concert refreshments, kindly provided by HCS members.