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An Evening of Remembrance

Saturday 10 November 2012
Venue: St David's Church, Exeter
In support of St David's Repair Fund

It was lovely to sing to such a big audience and we were thrilled to raise over £700 for the St David's Church Repair Fund. Please read the review below, written by Mary Ellis.

ExeVox is a small choir with large talent. Their concert on November 10 at St David’s Church started with an anthem written by a choir member, setting the words of the evening prayer ‘Lighten our darkness’. The flowing melodic line was sustained over a slowly-moving harmonic texture, floating out towards the audience from the singers, remote at the east end of the church. A similar harmonic texture was displayed in Paul Mealor’s ‘Locus Iste’, the complexity of which would have surprised anyone in the audience who only knew his work through the Military Wives’ hit song ‘Wherever you are’.

Peter Adcock directs the choir and helped the audience along with introductions to the music. He coined the phrase ‘Eclectic Mass’ to describe four movements from different works sung as a sequence. The contrast between Palestrina and Byrd made for intriguing listening: their antiphonal structure, and the greater use of syncopation by the English master, were clearly presented with confidence. Schubert’s ‘Sanctus’ showed beautifully controlled singing, but inserting it in this compilation was perhaps a little too much to swallow – as if we had been presented with a chocolate truffle in the middle of our savoury course.

As the evening continued, the choir relaxed into music with less exalted themes. Peter Adcock, who had also arranged some of the pieces, showed his keyboard ability in accompanying some numbers, adding energy and the occasional flourish to the more exuberant items, helping choir members to relax and move to the music. Particular talent was displayed by choir members who sang solo lines, all of which were clear and confident, carrying well throughout the building. The tenor and bass members had their chance to shine in a group of songs, some in arrangements they had composed themselves, milking the sentimental folk idioms with evident enjoyment. The Barbershop Quartet connected well with the audience by virtue of singing without the conductor and by the enthusiasm which they conveyed; the blend of voices was again excellent.

Billy Joel’s ‘Lullabye’ sent tingles down my spine, and the theme continuing in Eric Whitacre’s ‘Sleep’ was also compellingly conveyed. The occasional use of Americanisms in pronunciation was perhaps distracting rather than convincing, but as the choir neared the end of their programme with some energetic numbers, they showed their versatility and the accuracy that they bring to all that they undertake. When they offered ‘Thank you for the music’ as an encore, the audience should surely have joined in to thank them!

Mary Ellis, Exeter, 11 November 2012

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