from the Wokingham Times, June 2010
With Ascot, Wimbledon and the Wokingham Choral Society Summer Concert we know that summer has finally arrived. The performance on 19 June at All Saints Church was conservatively entitled 'Great Choral Classics' but the audience was treated to a feast of musical contrasts and versatility.
The first half of the programme indeed concentrated upon masterpieces of the choral repertoire by Samuel Wesley, Mendelssohn and Parry, sung by the Society with its customary musicality. The soprano soloists, Kate Tagg in Blessed be the God and Father, and Isobel Jones in Hear my Prayer, chosen from choir members, produced seductively pure tone and impressively confident high notes.
In the second half the mood changed completely with a varied selection of lighter works. To begin the Society yielded the stage to 85 singers from the 'Sing into Summer' course for those without previous choral experience. To the delight of the audience they performed with evident enjoyment and assurance four of the songs they had learnt in the short space of just six weeks. The group will form the core of the Wokingham Choral Academy to be launched under the guidance of the Society in September this year.
Back on stage the Society cast off its classical clothing to give polished performances of songs by Jerome Kern and George Shearing, ending with an exhilarating medley from Loewe's My Fair Lady.
In each half Alex Chaplin and Christopher Cromar, the hugely talented conductor and accompanist of the Society, performed a piano duet. In contrast with Dvorak's reflective Silent Woods, for the penultimate work of the evening they brought the house down with stunning virtuosity in Gershwin's Cuban Overture.
No one who attended this concert can be left in any doubt that choral music of all kinds is very much alive and kicking in Wokingham.