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Chorale lets ‘Heaven and Nature sing’

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by Colin King Thu, Dec 22. 2011

The New Kingstown Chorale in their first major performance since three years ago, had a packed audience anticipating in their seats on Tuesday night at the Peace Memorial Hall, a triumph as noteworthy, as the Christmas performance some three years ago. Judging from the lackluster and polite applause (with a few exceptions), the Chorale though above adequate, were far from the stellar heights of their preceding show.

‘Let Heaven and Nature Sing’ was a production a little risky, with many relative non mainstream selections in play e.g. as ‘Lately we watched’, ‘Mary’s lullaby, ‘Celebrate Jesus the King’ and others.

A number by Andrea Gaymes – Berklee scholarship winner – and Addison Stoddard, by far, was the crowning rendition of Tuesday’s performances, especially Gaymes, showing off a studied mature technique on ‘I Believe’, an original voice, an angelic timbre, and the harmonies between the two displayed a rare musicality.

The 44 performers did have one thing going for them though, the male component. The men were on pitch, accurate in diction, in sad contrast sometimes, to female voices, a few of whom were slightly off pitch and also the use of excessive vibrato detracting for the unison of voices sought.

Ironically the choir was happier, more communicative of the Christmas spirit on Caribbean selections, such as ‘Calypso Lullaby’.

They did have one major triumph ‘When a Child is Born’, simpatico with the mysterious heartfelt softness, and accurate emotion – reverence of the songs intent.

The Chorales program of the night was split into four parts ‘THE ANGELS SANG’ featuring more worshipful selections, MOTHER AND CHILD, featuring another special moment with the male voices ‘Mary did you know’ and other maternal divine selections, A TIME TO CARE for children, including the heartbreaking ‘Christmas shoes’, but the audience seemed to enjoy most A TIME OF CELEBRATION, featuring lighter more familiar carols “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’, the Christmas waltz’ as more Christmas spirit oriented material. The various themes of Fa la la which incorporated that popular carol with classic Beethovens 5th and the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky was also well-received.

The show featured a young choir with possibilities – Dynamic Choral voices – although when compared with a recent performance at the Drama Fest by the community college past student choir, they were a little paler by comparison.

The other high point, the best for last, was the unsettlingly polished, transcending piano with such classical spirit of Sean Sutherland’s musical interlude, where he played, excerpts form the Nutcracker suite.

Also performing were Starlift steel members, and I must commend Shurmeil Cruickshank on a positively musical and soothing light touch on her solo in “Perfect Love”.

The Chorale should realize it’s obligation to perfection, artistes of a different genre, e.g Skarpyon, Skinny Fabulous, Fireman Hooper and Maddzart, may have less noble impulses in performance, but they are always completely dedicated to excelling at what they do, although that music can’t compare to said potential when realized.

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