Journey to an Unknown Destination

TONY COOPER St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

TONY COOPER

The much-acclaimed local community choir Big Sky, directed by Sian Croose, joined forces with other local singers for the premiere performance of jazz saxophonist and composer Barbara Thompson's new choral work, commissioned by Norwich Arts Centre. And what a night it turned out to be!

Community choirs somewhat differ from traditionally trained choirs inasmuch as the singers get a feeling for the musical line learning by ear rather than following a score. In this particular instance, they learned their parts from a pre-recorded CD. The end result was riveting, exciting and a triumphant sound for the voice.

The choir of 95 singers, with a quartet taken from the chorus, sang their hearts out. They sent a calming and relaxing sound round the walls of this former medieval church as they travelled in song through the 12 sections of 'Journey', based on the philosophical poetry of Rabindranath Tagore, the Calcutta-born writer and a piece of contemporary verse by the Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

Accompanying the choir was Julian Wilkins on church organ and Simone Rebello, with marimba, vibraphone and percussion at her fingertips. It was a fine musical combination and a perfect balance with the choir, allowing the voice full freedom. The hall was packed and the audience was still shouting their approval as I departed.

A spiritual side to one's journey in life is the underlying message and by the end one felt a cleanliness of the soul and a new beginning for our future course.

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A further performance at St Andrew's Hall tonight, April 5, at 8pm is followed by a London premiere at St John's, Smith Square, on April 12. Don't miss it!

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