Review BH A Century of Song - June 2016
It was gert lush evening
Showing all the animated enthusiasm of television choirmaster Gareth Malone it was bravo for the baton waving men and women who led the singing on Sunday night at the Bristol Hippodrome.
And bravo too to all the choirs and musicians featured in this concert who performed a special selection of pieces with links to the city, from Danny Boy to I’d Like To Teach the World To Sing, Land Of Hope And Glory to Stranger On The Shore.
With the theatre packed to the rafters A Century Of Song traced the past 100 years of the city’s musical history for a Children in Need fundraiser.
Ten BBC Radio Bristol presenters introduced the six choirs from Greater Bristol who took to the stage to perform a mixed medley from sea shanties to Somerset folk songs, from wartime classics to honky tonk piano tunes and a bit of modern pop in between.
The familiar dulcet tones but not always familiar figures of Martin Evans, Richard Lewis, Ali Vowles, Joe Lemer, Emma Britton, Geoff Twentyman, Laura Rawlins, Steve Yabsley, Sasha Bigwood and Nigel Dando gave us an urban history lesson aided by a drop down screen and some informative slides and amusing asides.
The play list wasn’t necessarily in date order as we began with Tears For Fears mod music from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community choir Sing Out Bristol moving to the upbeat Mama Mia songsheet whose connection is its film script was written by Bristolian Catherine Johnson.
The Riff Raff choir entertained with Wichita Lineman and Man Chorus added the nostalgic Lili Marlene.
Loved the Monday lunchtime Hippodrome choir whose practise venue is the piano bar!
And the Penny Brohn Community Choir proved that singing lifted the spirit with its performance.
There were some wonderful solos but the biggest cheers went out for Footlights Vocal Dynamics which is part of the North Somerset performance academy who gave us a boogie woogie rendition and The Bee Song.
We obviously cheered loudest for the Nailsea contingent some of whom were singing with the Gert Lush choir.
We learned Cary Grant born Archibald Leach returned to his hometown many times to bring each of his five wives (not all together) to see its delights. Among the ‘names’ Nailsea’s Adge Cutler and Pensford’s Acker Bilk got a mention.
The finale was like last night at the proms with Charlotte Newstead playing Dame Clare Butt leading the flag-waving audience.
We were told Dame Clare stood more than 6ft tall in her stocking feet but soprano Lottie scaled the heights for a fitting end to a fabulous show.
BBC Radio Bristol recorded the concert and the highlights will be broadcast in a special programme on Monday, August 29.