The Jay Singers

MICHAEL DRAKE St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich


St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich

One of the better aspects of age is the pleasure in sharing birthday treats and on Saturday evening Jeremy Jackman directed the Jay Singers to offer musical 10th birthday treats that showed them to be a leading mixed voiced choir in the region.

Their purity and clarity of tone was immediately evident in di Lassus's Musica Dei Donum Optimi (music, gift of the supreme god). But the early part of the programme was rather too refined - well controlled singing but restrained - until Mike Brewer's arrangement of a Zulu wedding song that is. This preceded some jewels of 19th-century English music - Pearsall's Lay a Garland and Leslie's Charm Me Asleep, exquisitely sung.

In musical contrast to a setting by Jackman of Kevin Crossley-Holland's Sea Tongue former EDP arts editor Charles Roberts was guest character narrator and here and especially in a piece by Jonathan Mardle he showed he had lost none of his distinctive vocal lilt as voices provided atmospheric background.

The choir then demonstrated further their versatility and vocal dexterity in a lighter group, the pick of which was the Overture to Figaro, before coming full circle to Jackman's own version of the words di Lassus set.

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The Jay Singers have a gift of making good music.

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