It is a busy summer for Surrey Hills Chamber Choir. Our annual summer concert followed just a month after our slot in the United Reformed Church concert season. This was a challenging concert for us in that for the first time we had planned enough material to fill a concert by ourselves. Our whole-choir pieces were supplemented with solos and smaller ensembles.
We invited our sister choir, the Surrey Hills Singers, to join forces with us for ‘Zadok the Priest’ and to present a piece of their choice, which was the traditional spiritual ‘All My Trials’, arranged by Michael Neaum.
Three members of the Surrey Hills Singing School presented solos. Soprano Jennifer Ward sang a beautiful solo: ‘Sure on this Shining Night’ by Samuel Barber. Baritone Mike Winterbotham sang ‘Mein Teurer Heiland’ from Bach’s St John Passion with the ground bass taken by his wife, Sarah, on cello. Mezzo Christine Parrott sang the traditional haunting song, ‘The Water is Wide’. All were ably accompanied by the talented Robert Gillman on both piano and harpsichord, also swapping to organ for some of our choral pieces. Dashing surreptitiously from one instrument to another Robert had a good workout.
Members of the chamber choir like to get together and organise smaller ensembles and this year we had a treat with the very short and sparky song, ‘El Grillo’ (The Cricket) by Josquin des Prez. The quartet comprised Rachel Musgrove, Sarah Winterbotham, Tony Watson and Simon Jones. Vikki Turpin sang her swansong as the soprano soloist in ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ arranged by our own Michael Miles who also accompanied on piano. Vikki was ably backed by Sally Hobbs, Andy Gill and David Owers. We wish Vikki bon voyage on her travels – she will be a hard soprano to replace. But it was the men’s ensemble singing ‘Keep in the middle of the Road’, a fun African- American song written by William Shakespeare Hays that was warmly received with heartfelt shouts of ‘Bravo!’.
As the choir concluded their programme with the choreographed ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat,’ starring tenor Darrol Radley, shouts for more echoed around the church with loud applause. Members filed back on to the stage to find some audience showing their appreciation with a standing ovation. Not wishing to disappoint, the chamber choir performed the cheeky number ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’.
A successful evening of music was followed by an equal successful gathering next door in the local pub!