May 2014

Dunbar Parish Church, Saturday 10th May 2014

On Saturday evening May 10th in the Parish Church the Dunbar Choral Society, in their 65th Anniversary Concert, provided an antidote to the Eurovision Song Contest with a selection of favourite compositions by great European composers. There was no Bearded Lady performing but the enthusiastic and warm applause given to singers and orchestra denoted an award of maximum points.

Whether by coincidence or not the music chosen to open the concert, the prelude to Charpentier’s Te Deum, had actually been used as an early Eurovision theme tune.  The item as a whole was rendered with warmth and balance by Soloists, Choir and Orchestra. The soloists, Katrine Townhill, Scott Barron, Richard Mein and the Society’s own sopranos Diane Kerr and Anne Jackson, seemed to have an instinctive feel for the significance of words and music. The second work, A Little Jazz Mass by Bob Chilcott, was in an entirely different vein. Starting with a haunting blues-like Kyrie Choir and accompanying Trio swung through combinations of rhythm and style, with the male sections of the Choir giving a really positive ground, and in spite of pace never lost depth.

After the interval came two very well known works, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and Vivaldi’s Gloria. The Orchestra, who played at a consistently high standard all evening complementing the singers with sympathetic and balanced accompaniment, came into their own in the Concerto which was performed with flourish with soloists Pam Brown, Robert Dick, Ian Frost and Lynn Bulmer. The Vivaldi, a warm and fitting end to an excellent concert, again gave the soloists, Diane Kerr and Katrine Townhill, a platform to show the range and quality of their voices, with accomplished musical support from Choir and Orchestra.

The measure of the success of the evening was that singers, musicians and audience all appeared to be thoroughly involved and enjoying the whole experience. Much of the credit for this must lie with the conductor, Vaughan Townhill, who also chose the excellent programme.

Review by John Cairns