Ignoring the ghostly connotations of the day the Grantham Choral Society brought light, colour and a sense of occasion to St. Wulfram’s Church on Saturday when they conjured up the magic of A Night at the Proms wearing a sea of red, white and blue.
They began the first half with Parry’s “I was Glad” and ended it with Parry’s “Blest Pair of Sirens”, placing Handel’s Zadok the Priest” midway, all good sense of occasion stuff but sadly the organ, ably played by Geoffrey Winter, overshadowed the sound of the choir and much was lost in the vast acoustic of St. Wulfrum’s.
No such problem for the Foss Dyke Brass Band, skilfully conducted by Simon Oates, who interspersed the choral pieces with an eclectic variety of band music both sacred and profane. Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium contrasted
with Coates’ Dambusters March. Their very professional sound really filled the church, alternating between rousing and tender.
After the interval the Foss Dyke Band expertly juxtaposed an 18th century Ave Maria by Caccini, including a touching solo on the flugel horn, with Wagner’s Procession to the Minster from Lohengrin. The choir, adeptly accompanied by Sally Antony on the piano, followed this with a selection of traditional folk songs from around the British Isles with Mezzo Soprano Rosie Brady taking a solo in Danny Boy. This was a much better vehicle for the choir as all the voices could be heard to their best advantage above the piano, and Musical Director Nigel Stark brought out light and shade in what could have been some very hackneyed gems.
The concert ended with the Foss Dyke Band leading the very traditional Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Sir Henry
Wood, culminating in Rosie Brady’s stirring Rule Britannia. I would have loved more verses. The concert had to end of course with Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Auld Lang Syne, but unexpectedly it was followed by a standing ovation. The audience clearly loved it.