Cantemus Choir’s Spring concert on March 25th was an experience not likely to be forgotten by choir or audience for reasons other than the music!
Arriving at the concert venue, the Hayling College, for a rehearsal on the morning of the concert, choir members were greeted by news of an unexpected change. Raising the roof may be an appropriate response to a great performance but in this case a roof had fallen, and without a note being sung! Part of the ceiling of the school hall, booked for the concert, had crashed down, rendering the room unsafe: the concert was therefore moved to the sports hall, not an ideal location for a musical event. That the concert was able to take place at all was in no small part due to the tireless efforts of school caretaker Carl Jackman who ensured a smooth transition to this new venue.
The first part of the programme consisted of folk songs interspersed with the six movements of Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, a set of dances written as piano duets. All went well until the pianists, Terence Allbright from Chichester University, and Robert Louden, Cantemus’s regular accompanist, had concluded the second part of Warlock’s Suite, when the lights failed, plunging the hall into pitch blackness! Lighting was quickly restored (Carl again) and the programme continued, only to be interrupted again in the middle of Musical Director William Waine’s folk song solo!
The second half of the programme featured Johannes Brahm’s Love Song Waltzes, a series of short pieces for voices, probably inspired by his love for the wife of fellow composer Robert Schumann. Once again the lighting system was unreliable, notably during a tenor solo sung by Tom Perkins from Chichester Cathedral choir.
It transpired that the lighting system is geared to movement, which was fine while the conductor was waving his arms about, but the voice solos and piano duets did not provide enough motion stimulus to keep the lights on. Someone was therefore stationed by the override switch to quickly save the situation when necessary.
Another casualty of the evening’s changed circumstances was the use of the school hall’s grand piano. The pianists did a fantastic job with a substitute electronic keyboard but decided that this would not be suitable for their programmed piano solos – a disappointment for all, but completely understandable.
The audience appeared appreciative and choir members were relieved that the concert seemed to go well in spite of fears that the sports hall’s acoustic would be unfavourable, fears that proved groundless.
Altogether, a memorable evening!
Cantemus’s next concert is on June 24th at St James’s Church, Emsworth
For more information go to: www.cantemushavant.moonfruit.com