Early Blog entries have expressed some of the excitement and euphoria of the evening with Lesley Garrett. Not only was she superb but we too were very good. Our performances were generally tight, tonally sound and in the main as far as the audience were concerned, word perfect! And as noted in the critique below, we may not have the colour and expression in our phrasing as some would like, but this is very difficult to do with an amateur male voice choir, but nevertheless, a creditable effort. So much so that Lesley Garrett made the comment that “we are the best Amateur Male Voice Choir she has ever worked with! And we are really singing…” and she likes working with MVCs.
Huddersfield Examiner’s Art Critic Chris Robbins, who is an ex Head of Music within Kirklees wrote:- ‘Many opera singers sound leaden once they add pop and musicals to their repertoire. Not so Lesley Garrett. Verdi heroine, soubrette, folk singer and West End warbler – she does it all with dexterity and integrity. Add to that her ability to work an audience like an old time music hall diva and she is beyond compare. Her folk ballads Bold Grenadier and All Round My Hat were beautifully told stories, her I Could Have Danced All Night was as good as anything she has done, her Schubert Serenade was a major performance, as were La Vergine from Verdi’s Force of Destiny and the Nun’s Chorus from Ralph Benatzky’s Casanova in which her expressiveness and vocal beauty were magnificently accompanied by Honley Male Voice Choir. The Choir’s ensemble, tuning and balance were spot on, and although their warm tone’s soft surface limited their range of colour and expression, their sustained intensity produced powerful performances, particularly in Speed Your Journey from Verdi’s Nabucco.’
‘It was an inspired idea by the Honley Men’s Musical Director Steven Roberts – who was masterly all evening– to invite Barnsley Children’s Choir to add their bright tone and impressive delivery to the men’s sonority in numbers such as Consider Yourself from Oliver and Do Re Mi from The Sound of Music. Their ensemble and balance with the men sounded as though the two choirs had been partners for years.’
‘Lesley Garrett said that “Huddersfield Town Hall has the best acoustic in the country”‘. And I’m sure that we will be pleased to sing with her again at some time in the future or indeed with other celebrity singers.
A big thank you though to Steven Roberts our MD and Michelle Sutcliffe our accompanist, for whipping us into shape. There will always be the odd dissenter about the choice of music not being traditional Male Voice. but it does make a change signing something from the 20th and 21st centuries rather than the 19th. If we are to attract new audience of a younger age group (and even more new members) then we have to move with the times whilst maintaining a balance with the old and the new.
And I’ll agree with the previous blogger that Steve does take a good picture and looks younger every day! ( Note the picture of Dorian Grey in the background).