Sing Christmas at St Nic's 2011

Saturday 17th of December 2011, 06:30 pm

NWN write up

A specially-commissioned carol by Robin Highcock “Child of Mary” was given its premère on Saturday to a hushed audience at St Nicolas Church, Newbury, where 120 singers from eight years old upwards combined as St Nicolas Community Choir to give a truly festive concert full of seasonal music and atmosphere, in aid of The Children’s Society. To organise such a well-balanced, disciplined and cohesive choir is no mean feat, but Sarah and Nic Cope once again teamed up to prove how much could be achieved in a relatively short rehearsal season. Regular choir members rubbed shoulders with visitors, some of them from other choirs, others there because they were mums and dads of young singers, and all with a love of making music together. Confidence abounded, and this was in no small measure due to the excellent influence which Sarah and Nic impart as notes are learned, unusual rhythms are encountered, and FUN is had! .

The Copes have skill and patience in large quantities, obviously realising how to draw out the musicality of a wide range of singers. Sarah teaches and conducts, Nic plays piano and organ, and they love what they are doing. Having founded St Nicolas Performing Arts Projects (SNPAPS) in 2007, they are no strangers to bringing off spectacular events, having staged a community production of “Godspell” in May 2007 to great critical acclaim.

Saturday night’s concert, with support from St Nicolas Church and Greenham Common Trust, was full of heart-warming sounds. Spirituals were enlivened by the drumming of Hyacinth Cobb, and hands, feet and shoulders were difficult to keep still. Sarah Cope’s arrangements of “Mary had a Baby” and “The Virgin Mary” (with Alice Billington and Elly Greenwood taking the solos), were a delight, and traditional carols were there too, some with audience participation. Confidence-building was achieved by small groups being given special sections to perform, giving Laura Buchanan, Kay Douglass, Daisy Morley, Liz Philip and Rebecca Whittaker their opportunity to shine.

Guest pianist Oliver Williams captured and held our attention with his playing of Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 81 “Les Adieux” and, in the second half, Liszt’s “Consolation in E” and Liszt’s transcription of Schumann’s “ Liebeslied” to provide a breath-taking and awe-inspiring performance of changing moods and many, many notes! A wonderful treat from this familiar figure in Newbury’s musical life, who always retains such a sense of modesty and true involvement in his music. The audience loved his performance.

Additional files

Sing Christmas Flyer
Tuesday 8th of November 2011