For many years The Wessex men have hankered after a return to the magnificent St John Baptist Parish Church in the centre of the Roman town of Cirencester – and on Saturday they got the chance.
Hosted by Cirencester Male Voice Choir, the choirs delighted a full house and were joined by West End chanteuse, Lucy May Barker adding some sparkle and glamour with her performance of musical theatre songs.
CMVC opened proceeding with a rousing set of music culminating with the fast paced and tricky ‘Rythmn of Life’. They were well practised and driven hard by their musical director James Willshire and accompanist Louise Matley.
Lucy treated the crowd to some West End favourites including ‘Tomorrow’ from Annie and ‘When she loved me’ from Toy Story
Then it was the turn of The Wessex. Opening with ‘Oh, what a beautiful morning’ and although strictly speaking it was eight in the evening, it was a fine rendition of the Oklahoma classic. They followed with ‘Restera la luce’ from Giorgio Susanna, ‘In Paradisum’ arranged by the Wessex MD Tom Graff, They finished the first set with the ever popular New Zealand sea shanty ‘The Wellerman’ – fast becoming an audience favourite – and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ arranged by Jim Clancy.
The Wessex opened the second half with the gorgeous ‘And Can it Be’ arranged by the American arranger and pianist Dan Forrest. ‘Nessum Dorma’ followed and they closed their second set with Toto’s ‘Africa’ and the traditional Irish folk song ‘The Rocky road to Dublin’.
Lucy May barker delighted further with ‘When I grow up’ from Matilda and ‘ Anthem’ from Chess in a Bjorn and Benny double header with ‘Thank you for the music’. The crowd (nor the Choirs!) needed little encouragement to join in and we were indeed ‘thankful for the music’
The finale saw 75 men on stage to belt out the massive crowd pleaser; Elvis’s ‘American Trilogy’. With Katrine Reimers thumping the piano and Louise Matley on the mighty church organ, the ground fairly shook, the choristers rose to the occasion and were rewarded with a standing ovation.
What a wonderful evening of music!
If you missed this concert – don’t despair! You can catch The Wessex at their Christmas concert on 8th December at Christ church Swindon, with special guests the Defence Academy Military Wives choir. Tickets are available via www.ticketsource.co.uk/Wessex-male-choir