Sheringham Shantymen, Gorleston

KEITH CUTLER Making their third appearance at St Andrew's Festival, now in its 34th year, 20 members of the most famous of North Norfolk's male folk choirs delighted a large audience at the Chapter House.

KEITH CUTLER

Making their third appearance at St Andrew's Festival, now in its 34th year, 20 members of the most famous of North Norfolk's male folk choirs delighted a large audience at the Chapter House.

Since their formation in 1990, the Shantymen have travelled far, appeared on TV and radio and have recently returned from a successful German tour. Their concerts have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

In Wednesday's concert they sang a generous selection from their wide repertoire, predominantly of traditional or modern sea shanties, folk songs (Bunch of Thyme) whaling songs (Fishing for the Whale) and the contemporary hymn, Lord of the Dance. Some were boisterous, some humorous and others sad — like Threescore and Ten. To add tonal colour to their singing several vocalists played guitars and mandolin, melodeon and button accordion.

The group was joined by the Lowestoft mezzo-soprano Joanne Knight and her piano accompanist, Eileen Last — both making return appearances to the festival. Joanne Knight's intimate recital was far-ranging from operatic arias by Handle and Mozart, Britten's distinctive folk song arrangements, expressive unaccompanied singing of Ye Banks and Braes, English songs and humorous American showstoppers. Their performance was an ideal complement to the less-refined masculinity of the Sheringham Shantymen.

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