Clive Peacock reviews Festival of Voices with Divertimento and Friends at Warwick Hall, Warwick School
A third celebration of ‘all things choral’ blossomed into a very special evening as 250 singers representing seven contributing choirs sang to close the night.
What a night it proved to be so with many differing voices, differing combinations and differing manifestations delighting a packed Warwick Hall - and all with a common link. That link is the sheer enjoyment of singing in company - no matter the experience, the level of vocal training or the capacity to read music.
That enjoyment shone through whatever combination was on stage at the time. The range of music chosen added to the overall enjoyment, from Scottish Traditional songs to Puccini, from Lennon and McCartney, Paul Simon and Labi Siffre to Mozart and Billy Joel and Beyonce to Finzi and Rachmaninov. There was a lot for everyone!
It would be unfair to pick on particular groups for special mention; having said that Harbury Folk Club Choir made their first visit to the festival with a big impact amusing the audience with their “a place in the choir” and the clever harmonies. Taking the prize for the biggest impact in terms of numbers was Rock Choir, a particularly lively, enthusiastic enterprise in the capable hands of Angela Moran. Warwickshire County Choristers with Ben Hamilton’s leadership delivered the most moving moments of the night with “ubi caritas” (where there is love) and “firefly” by Andy Beck.
Sheila Koch, host for the night, brought the individual contributions to a close leading the sparkling colours of Divertimento through some gorgeous works by Gerald Finzi “my spirit sang all day” (a story about the composer's girlfriend) and Sergei Rachmaninov’s 1915 composition for the Russian Orthodox Church, “Ave Maria”.
Carefully choreographed movements enabled 250 singers to reach the stage to perform “rhythm of life”. What a moment for the enthusiastic audience who quite rightly demanded a second singing of this joyous song. Uplifting? Yes!