This was Farnham Youth Choir’s first concert at the Menuhin Hall, near Cobham. In gorgeous weather, concert-goers and singers enjoyed the venue’s tranquil landscaped gardens. It was a perfect space to relax during breaks in rehearsals, and an ideal setting for a photo shoot with Nick Rutter, a specialist in arts photography.
The Youth Choir’s performance included repertoire for the European Choir Games in Gothenburg later in the summer, in the Youth Choir and Sacred Music categories. Switching easily from the tranquil beauty of Schubert’s Gott ist mein Hirt, for instance, to the defiant attitudes of Kirby Shaw’s arrangement of Joshua, FYC’s performance showcased how versatile the young singers are. Next the Training Choir took the stage by storm in every sense! A wonderful evocation of thundery rain (with audience participation), jazzy elephants and some precision moves (Roller Ghoster) almost brought the house down, the applause so loud that one overwhelmed young singer had to put his hands over his ears. The Trainers were joined by the Junior Choir for a bravura performance of Ben Parry’s Science Song, and then it was the turn of the Junior Choir to show a very appreciative audience the skills they have been honing. They moved nimbly between thieving rats (Five Eyes), eeriness (Shadow-maker) and the gentleness of a lullaby with a sweet solo (Sweet and Low) before returning to spikiness and showmanship for their final two songs, staying in focus even when pelting around the stage!
The highlight of the concert brought the three choirs together to perform the world premiere of Owain Park’s The Tyger, commissioned by Graham and Alison Noakes. Graham was formerly FYC’s Chair and this incredibly generous gift comes after many years of unstinting support, for which everyone at FYC is extremely grateful. The Tyger was spellbinding and sung with relish by the young singers, for whom it’s going to be a firm favourite for years to come.
Review by Helen Cole 30.06.19