Bungay Choral Society Christmas Fanfare

Holy Trinity Church, Bungay

From the opening fanfare of Martin Shaw's Gloria in Excelsis Deo, it was clear that Bungay Choral Society has taken a big step forward under new musical director and conductor Vic Kendrick.

The choir has grown to more than 50 voices, giving it more depth and richness, it immediately captured the interest and warmth of a large audience on Saturday, and went on to demonstrate its control and harmony in a varied programme.

Haydn's Te Deum and Bach's Christmas Oratorio Part One followed that fine opening, and both provided evidence of a well-rehearsed choir confident in its work and enjoying what it is doing under a conductor of considerable experience and expertise.

The Chorale section of the oratorio was particularly pleasing, and in the later choral and recitative, and the air, bass Graham Barton was strong and controlled. There is plenty of variation in the oratorio to give all sections of the choir prominence, with the other soloists, Emma Barton (contralto), and Ian Cooper (tenor), performing well.

It was good to hear Nigel Brown coax the best out of the Holy Trinity Church organ.

Festive songs featured in the second half, including the Cherry Tree Carol and Adam Lay Ybounden, greatly appreciated by the audience. The final work was Rutter's beautiful Nativity Carol, and the audience joined in carols.

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This was one of the society's most impressive performances in recent years.