BY DAVID HEATHCOTE
Marsh Ladies’ Choir sparkled in their diamond anniversary concert for a spirited audience at Huddersfield Parish Church.
There is something remarkably special about this choir. Each singer shows more than just commitment to the words and music, they embody them.
Though the choir, musical director Ian Abbott magnifies his instinctive musicality and the sentiments of each piece. As a conductor, he is clear and expressive and a great encouragement to the choir.
The choir were rhythmically as one in upbeat pieces such as Alexander’s Ragtime Band and It Don’t Mean a Thing but they were particularly powerful in the more emotionally intense repertoire.
One of the most special performances of the evening was We Will Walk Together, composed for the occasion by Paul and Sarah Wilkinson.
This expression of friendship and thanks was perfectly embodied in the words, the music and the emotional performance by the choir.
The choir’s guests, Sundown Swing, is a stylish group who treated the audience to classics from the 30s to the 70s.
Like the choir, the band mastered dynamic contrasts, which particularly showed in their muted phrases. The band’s soloists were brilliant in their featured sections.
Who better to compère a diamond celebration than the dazzling Gordon Stewart? As ever, Gordon entertained with great stories and opened the second half with March on a Yorkshire Tune and Hornpipe Humoresque by Noel Rawsthorne.
But he summed up the occasion perfectly with his thoughtful words: “Music is vitally important. These groups are vitally important. Young people must not have gifts like these stolen from them.”