Skalica ConcertJuly 23, 2018 in Slovakia ⋅ 🌙 23 °C
At about 17.40 I have to admit to being a little worried that we wouldn't have an audience at all for this concert, and in fact at about 17.45 I would have taken 40 people if I had been offered it! I needn't have worried as there was a steady stream of people from 17.50 and by the time the orchestra was tuning up there were around 200 people in the audience which was just brilliant. The church looks lovely and is a wonderful venue in which to perform, and to have a pretty much capacity audience to play to was a real bonus for the students.
CYO began the concert with Tchaikovsky's overture to Romeo and Juliet; we thought that the acoustic in the church would help with projection and boy were we right!
There are some churches that we have visited on NMPAT tours where the echo has gone well into double figures of seconds which can often obliterate the music as it all becomes blurred and smudged, however whilst there was a little echo it didn't in any way detract from the music and allowed the orchestra to project right to the "standing room only section" in the very back of the church in what was an exhilarating performance to listen to! The orchestra has played this work so well this year and that today was no exception, just brilliant!
CYCh followed CYO to the front of the stage and began their first set with the beautiful 'Abide With Me' and it was simply lovely. The purity of sound and control that these students have is fantastic, you really could hear a pin drop in the spaces! Dashing Away with a Smoothing Iron' is one of those pieces that musicians would say "could wobble a bit" if everyone isn't absolutely focussed and concentrating throughout, as there are so many entries coming in at different times, however there were no problems for such a gifted group of singers and they pulled it off with aplomb! Then for their third piece Lauson Kenyon sang a wonderful solo in 'And So It Goes' and again the control and dynamic range displayed by the choir was awesome, the acoustic helping to fill the church and immerse the audience.
CYO then performed the fourth movement from Scheherezade and the energy, power and beauty within their performance was wonderful. A big shout out should go to Jade Segler for playing the violin cadenzas so well, and she was ably supported by Holly-Alice Morton on harp! This work is not played by many youth orchestras, as it has so many challenges to it, so it is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the students that they played it so professionally today, it was a pleasure to listen to.
The final set from CYCh began with the beautiful and haunting 'Shenandoah' featuring Libby Marsland as soloist; they followed this with 'Cantate Dominum' and a performance including a vocal quintet performing at the opposite end of the church. Their final piece was Sleep, which was breathtaking and captivated the audience completely, you sometimes get the feeling from audiences that they have been totally 'swept away' by the music and this performance had absolutely that effect today! The reaction to Sleep led to extended applause so 'Underneath The Stars' was chosen as the choir's encore featuring Michael Needle as soloist, this piece really tugs at the heart strings and was a beautiful way to end CYCh's contributions to the concert.
This left CYO to finish proceedings with a performance of music from the Cowboys which brought the concert to a rousing conclusion. It has been another brilliant concert by both groups and it is wonderful to get to listen to such fantastic musicians, congratulations to everyone! There was just time for a standing ovation from the audience for all of the performers, some nice presentations and an encore of Nimrod (a personal favourite!) and a rendition of the last few bars of the Cowboys to send everyone home happy!Read more