Each year the junior choirs in the FYC family give a concert that launches the Christmas season in a uniquely joyful way. Parents and grandparents in the audience sit on their hands to start with but in the end a discreet wave or thumbs-up to their choir-member just can’t be suppressed. Then everything gets underway and there’s so much to be proud of.
Serious music-making came with a generous measure of fun in this year’s Christmas Celebration at the United Reformed Church in Farnham. Scattered through the programme were seasonal readings that were beautifully and confidently delivered by young choir-members. The Girls’ Choir under Jo McNally gave us lots of colours in four contrasting pieces, from the traditional (In the Bleak Midwinter) through to the spiritual (Tiny Little Baby born in Bethlehem) with syncopations, rhythmic clapping and singing in rounds along the way – and a burst of dancing at the end. The Boys’ Choir showed that they could do ‘cheeky’ like no-one else, whether punching the air (‘pow!’) in Super Santa! or calling the reindeer home with a Sami drum (Lapland Joik), guided by their director Patrick Barrett. The Training Choir eased us from autumn into winter with songs that included movement and impressive finger-clicking, director Sarah Burston donning a Christmas jumper along the way. By the time the choirs came together to end with Hava Nashira the audience knew that these young singers had worked hard all year yet still had energy to spare, even if sometimes opening your mouth wide to sing can bring on a yawn that just won’t be stifled. There was nothing sleepy about the heartfelt cheers of thanks for accompanist and organist Matthew Rickard.
The next few weeks place many demands on singers but these young musicians showed everyone that they are in fantastic shape as they head towards Christmas, and beyond.
Review by Helen Cole