King’s Lynn Festival Chorus
A large audience attended the first concert by the King’s Lynn Festival Chorus in the newly-refurbished and warm St Nicholas Chapel in Lynn on Saturday.
The opening plainsong sequence provided a very atmospheric start to the evening, with the bass soloist being answered by different sections of the choir at either end of the chapel. Conductor, Tom Appleton, explained that the six short pieces would have been sung by monks during the season of Advent.
The next items were in memory of David Willcocks, who had been director of music at King’s College, Cambridge, and who had written and arranged many of today’s well-known carols; he died earlier this year at the age of 95.
The children of St Martha’s Catholic Primary School provided a fitting contrast to the Chorus. Their discipline and enthusiasm shone through, particularly in It Feels Like Christmas which was from the film A Muppet Christmas Carol.
The Chorus followed with a beautiful arrangement of Warlock’s Bethlehem Down and then contrasted it with a lively arrangement by Will Todd of I Saw Three Ships.
The second half was much more light-hearted. In fact, half-way through, Tom Appleton disappeared and to everyone’s surprise he was replaced by Father Christmas who conducted the remainder of the concert!
The opening Twelve Days of Christmas bounced along merrily and when the audience were invited to join in the last verse it went faster, which caused some hilarity.
The children sang two more songs, the second of which was We Are The Young, a school anthem which they obviously enjoyed and is one of their favourites. What a pleasure to hear children singing so well.
The final item by the Chorus was a lovely arrangement by John Rutter of O Holy Night. It brought an appropriate end to the evening celebrating Christmas in a chapel many centuries old.
The audience was pleased to be able to stand to join in with various well-known carols between the items by the Chorus and the children.
Tom Appleton always brings a professional sounding choir to concerts and this was no exception. They were skilfully accompanied at the piano by John Byron. This was his last concert with them as he is moving on in the new year.