American Connections Concert

The antique shops of Honiton are packed with treasures: the familiar, the unfamiliar, some curiosities, and some new-found treasures. Anyone who ventured beyond those shops and into St Paul’s Church on Saturday 24 April would have experienced a musical equivalent presented by the far-from-antique and highly regarded Sheldon Singers in their Spring Concert, “AMERICAN CONNECTIONS”. Julie De’Ath-Lancaster, sparkling in both dress and personality, guided her able singers and the audience through a wonderfully varied programme of music from across ‘the pond’. There were works familiar and unfamiliar by Copland, Ives, Barber and Bernstein, and there were also some curiosities and new-found delights. Probably most notable amongst these was the “Missa Kenya” by Paul Basler. The “Gloria” from the mass, with its rhythmic energy, engaging melodies and the dynamic solo singing of Glyn Jones, proved to be a real show-stopper! A delighted audience was invited to become the rhythm section in a reprise of the “Gloria” and relished the experience.

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Darkness to Light Concert

This was a very interesting concert. The main work, Howard Goodall’s Requiem “Eternal Light”, which formed the second part of the evening, is itself a complex piece which juxtaposes Latin liturgy with English poetry, and the whole work has something of a patchwork quality, with choruses, songs and a hymn, in a whole range of styles both modern and traditional, with tinges of jazz, minimalism, modern popular music and (almost) TV themes, all within only 40 minutes.

The first part of the concert reflected this patchwork idea, with short mostly unaccompanied choral works interspersed with readings, all related to the theme “Darkness to Light” (From the works we heard, I wondered whether this could mean November through Advent to Christmas, or death followed by the resurrection of souls).

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