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Huddersfield Town Hall Concert

October 10th 2009     

They came, they sang, they conquered 

The internationally-acclaimed Morriston Orpheus Choir’s visit to the equally acclaimed Huddersfield Town Hall on Saturday night was a resounding success.

The Swansea Morriston Orpheus Choir has sung at leading concert halls around the world, including Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall, New York and found the invitation to perform in the splendour of the Town Hall, with its renowned acoustic irresistible.

That invitation last January came from New Mill Male Voice Choir, the 58-strong green jacketed Holme Valley men joining the 80 white blazered Welshmen on stage in a charity concert in aid of Kirkwood Hospice and the Forget Me Not Trust.

From the stirring opening of Mansel Thomas’s arrangement of Harlech, the West Yorkshire audience was enthralled. The choir’s programme, expertly guided by musical director Joy Amman Davies with brilliant accompaniment from Jo Scullin and organist Leslie Ryan, included hymns, spirituals, a traditional Zulu chant and ballads. One of many highlights was Nella Fantasia, Joy’s arrangement of Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe from the film score to The Mission, which also showcased Jo Scullin’s talents with a solo passage.

Organist Les Ryan fairly made the hall vibrate to the rafters with Widor’s Toccata, while rising star Gary Griffiths, last year’s winner of the Young Welsh Singer of the Year, included an impressive Toreador from Bizet’s Carmen in a programme that encored with the choir in Stars, from Les Miserables.

The host choir, musical director Elizabeth Hambleton and accompanist Anne Levitt, were far from over-awed and excelled in the Carl Deis arrangement of The Lord’s Prayer.

Both choirs came together in an African trilogy and Morte Criste before a standing ovation and encore of Land Of My Fathers, Joy Amman Davies conducting choirs – and audience. Michael Meadmore made an informative compere.

Andrew Flynn

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