July 8th 2017
The Colours of Love
East Devon Choral Society in full voice
(Photograph: Mike Brett)
|Johann Pachelbel: “Canon & Gigue”
Piano: Andrew Daldorph
In a new departure, Andrew had also done away with musical manuscripts and songsheets. Every song was learned by ear and sung from memory – with everyone’s attention firmly fixed on the Andrew for direction.
The first three numbers were from the renaissance, and eased the choir into unscripted song.
|Thelonious Monk: Blue Monk
Andrew Daldorph Chris Gradwell
Greensleeves is well known, and the men concentrated on a wordless continuo. Orlando Gibbons‘ “Silver Swan” has a more complicated lyric, with counterpoint, but ironically relates the misconception that swans themselves do not sing – until they are about to die. Andrew also had some fun with Johann Pachelbel‘s “Canon & Gigue” for violins and continuo. He had arranged this as a beautiful vocalise for multiple voices, with no words at all. The choir worked their magic deftly, sending waves of pure delicious sound wafting over the audience, to the astoundingly delicate accompaniment of Andrew’s piano playing. What a lovely opening to a concert – with the promise of much more to come.
|Drums: Steve Douglas|
The choir then had a chance to take a rest, as Andrew was joined by an informal jazz band convened for the evening. Steve Douglasplayed the drums and Chris Gradwell played the tenor saxophone in a smooth and lively version of Thelonious Monk‘s “Blue Monk” with Andrew playing the piano, and a slightly mysterious guest playing the electric bass guitar.
The mystery was soon resolved, as Andrew introduced Verity Stroud, one of his music students at Exeter School – and a very accomplished one. Verity is a Grade VIII piano student, as well as guitarist. She also plays the bassoon – and had been bassoon soloist in a performance of Mozart‘s “Bassoon Concerto in B flat” earlier the same week.
Verity’s main contribution to the evening was still to be revealed. Andrew has been Verity’s singing teacher, and came to realise that she has the perfect voice, and temperament, to perform his own compositions for jazz band and voice. Together they have made an album of classic songs and Andrew’s own compositions.
“On You Beloved Eyes”
With Steve, Chris and Andrew providing a emotive introduction and accompaniment, she sang the title track from the album: “On You, Beloved Eyes“, while accompanying herself on bass guitar. Her voice is very sensual, and blends perfectly with the instruments of a jazz quartet.
Before the interval there was also time for two more of Andrew’s jazz numbers, “It‘s You My Love” and ” Since You Are Here“. The percussionist on the album is Gary Evans, and Steve Douglas had prepared for only a few days for this performance. Regardless of this, his gentle rhythms were perfect – and infectious.
The album also features Mike Thorn‘s double bass. Copies were available at the Church – produced by “Musical Squares” – i.e. Mike & Wendy Gluyas.
“Colours of the Day” (Light Up the Fire)
(Keith Ryecroft, Sue McClellan, John Paculabo)
East Devon Choral Society
The choir then returned for two more songs. First Andrew led a very sombre arrangement (by himself) of Charles Villiers Stanford‘s “Blue Bird” for female voices and piano only.
The men soon joined in, with full band including Verity’s bass guitar, to sing the traditional spiritual (with a distinct, albeit spurious, West Country flavour), “Kum Ba Yah“. To ensure that the choir members did not forget which verse they had reached, Andrew mimed the actions at each reprise – a very effective form of direction.
Ryecroft, McClellan & Pac
The theme “Colours of Love” had slightly slipped with this campfire song, but the first half ended with a rousing spiritual hymn which combined all of the elements. “Colours of the Day” by ‘Parchment‘ (Keith Ryecroft, Sue McClellan & John Paculabo) – also subtitled “Light up the Fire” – did just that.
The exciting Christian message of Jesus’ impending resurrection was expressed jubilantly in words and actions. And the choir were joined at the opportune moment by the full band to end with several exuberant choruses and a final exultant cheer.
“When I Saw You
The interval was passed pleasantly in the churchyard, with wine, soft drinks and snacks served in the church centre. After a pleasant half hour in the evening sunlight, the audience returned. Verity welcomed everyone back with an unscheduled rendition of another of Andrew’s romantic compositions, “When I Saw You Standing There“.
An appeal on behalf of
British Heart Foundation
Then a tenor from the choir introduced the benefit charity. Peter McLean-Buechel has reason to be grateful to the British Heart Foundation for all their help and support when he had cardiac surgery last year. In a witty and moving exposition, he summarised the many benefits provided by the charity.
|Henry Mancini: “The Pink Panther”
Drums: Steve Douglas
Piano: Andrew Daldorph
Tenor Saxophone: Chris Gradwell
This entertaining anthropomophic romance, sung by the women and accompanied by male chorus and drums, rekindled the jazzy feel of the evening and set the scene for a classic instrumental jazz number. Steve Douglas provided the ever-familiar brushed cymbal introduction to Henry Mancini‘s Academy Award winning theme to Blake Edwards‘ “The Pink Panther“. Chris Gradwell‘s tenor saxophone playing totally recalled Plas Johnson‘s original – and Andrew’s switching between genres was as impressive as ever. A song with everlasting appeal.
“Coming Back Home”
Verity joined the band on bass guitar for Sonny Burke‘s wartime lament “Black Coffee“, and sang two more of Andrew’s compositions with the band, “And I Want to Hold You” and “I‘m Comin‘ Back Home“. Verity’s singing reached new heights on intensity, as she poured ever more energy into each word of Andrew’s heart wrenching story.
|Accolades from the band
for a special new singer
Verity’s singing was perfectly matched, and complemented, by Chris’s skilled saxophone solos, with all four instruments rising and falling in intensity precisely with Verity’s mood – and incredible joint effort by four outstanding musicians.
By way of a total contrast, Andrew then introduced the men of the choir (plus female tenor Cathy Harris) to sing something in a lighter style – and very stylish indeed – “White Shoe Blues” by Jim Page.
|Jim Page: White Shoes Blues|
|Andrew introduces the men|
The men very ably injected just the right amount of humour and hep into the words and – just at the opportune moment – the entire soprano and alto sections joined in the chorus from the stalls. A brilliant and hilarious embellishment.
|The Men’s Section
Director: Andrew Daldorph
The whole choir polished off the theme of colours with “Blue Moon” by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart (with spectacular male-voice continuo) and (with whole-hearted audience participation) “Yellow Submarine” by John Lennon & Paul McCartney. Originally performed by Ringo Starr “Yellow Submarine” offers ample opportunity for comic embellishment, which the choir members provided with voices off, while the audience joined in enthusiastically during the choruses – and most of the verses.
As a fitting finale, and an opportunity for the audience to recover from all the excitement, Verity Stroud ended the concert with another performance of “I’m Comin‘ Back Home” accompanied by the band. Her contributions had been much appreciated, and audience members made their way hot foot to the table at the exit selling her CDs – and to add to the contributions towards the British Heart Foundation.
The choir return to rehearsals in October, when new members are welcome as ever – especially tenors. The next concert will be at the Baptist Church in Newport Street, Tiverton, on Saturday 9th December: Handel’s “Messiah“!
|East Devon Choral Society
Musical Director: Andrew Daldorph
(Photograph: Mike Brett)
March 25th: Bach – St John Passion Tiverton Baptist Church