Concert Review and CD

We have made a recording of our annual concert held on Saturday 25th June at St James, Louth. These are at £3.50 inl. PP. Contact Tim Elliott – 01507 604262,

2016 Concert recording CD sleeve Disc 1 - For Internet

Below is a critique by Fredrick Goodwin. Fred has had a lifetime in music and is the retired organist and choir mater of St James Church, Louth. Fred is also a composer and arranger of choral music and has written some pieces for us:

‘Are we singing it without music?’ said the choirboy, meaning without copies.   In last night’s LMVC concert hardly any copies were to be seen, but by golly there was music!   An abundance of rich, warm, heartfelt music, rhythmically alive, impressive in its unanimity and full of variety.    It is always a wonder how the members of the Louth Male Voice Choir manage to sing a long and complex programme entirely from memory, but it certainly pays off:  with every eye on the conductor, every singer full of enthusiasm and striving to be at one with his fellows, responding to every nuance, nothing gets in the way of the performance.   This was one of the best concerts I have heard them give, possibly the best. The attention of the audience was grabbed at the start, with the electrifying opening unison of Martin Shaw’s With a Voice of Singing, which soon diverged into rich harmony and reached a spirited climax, all of it rhythmically alive and harmonically secure.   And this level of projection and accuracy, tunefulness and vitality was to be the hallmark of the entire evening, reaching out strongly to the audience.   Some pieces, such as Portrait of my Love or Going Home (from Dvorak’s New World Symphony) were mainly gentle in mood and lyrical, featuring sweet harmony; others, including Do You Hear the People Sing (from Les Miserables) were more energetic; yet others had an exuberance derived from jazz, with syncopated rhythms, notably Every Time I Feel the Spirit, a song that became quite complex in its counterpoint of different melodies as it progressed.   Some songs had a melody in one part accompanied cleverly by the others, e.g. I Dreamed a Dream, and some had highly entertaining added effects, most memorably Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain, with its graphic recreation of a thunder storm.  Some had piano accompaniment, ably supplied by the choir’s regular accompanist Gwyn Law, and others featured talented soloists from within the choir.    Yet perhaps, for me, nothing was more heart-warming than the quiet, mellow unison singing heard in songs like Bring him home.    All in all this was an evening of variety:  just when one thought that one had heard all the different styles possible, something new would happen. But that was not all.    For an interlude we were treated to the excellent playing of a guest artist.  Violinist Juliet Hayley, winner of the East Lindsey Young Musician of the Year competition 2014, gave a remarkably mature performance of the first movement of Brahms’s G major violin sonata.    This is difficult music, technically and emotionally, but Juliet was equal to the challenge, displaying warmth of tone and sensitivity of phrasing, alongside the ability of a real musician to interact rhythmically with the pianist:  I will not call him the accompanist, since in such music the pianist is an equal partner, and both Julie herself and the audience were fortunate to have David Parker fulfilling this exacting role.  Another delightful interlude was provided by Octangle, LMVC’s smaller group, which entertained us with sweet harmony and good ensemble in works ranging from Tallis’s If ye love me to the amusing drama of When I was single… The evening’s entertainment was much enhanced by the delicious dry wit of compere Nick Adams, and, as ever, the concert finished with what seems to be the choir’s signature tune: Morte Christe (When I survey the wondrous cross), for which the role of conductor was undertaken by the capable hands of the choir’s Assistant MD John Hards, while Graham Burrell moved from the rostrum to the organ.   It is to Graham that credit for the success of the evening must go.   I understand that he has been Musical Director for twenty-eight years, and during that time he has enthusiastically and painstakingly nurtured the choir to the point where it can give a rich evening’s entertainment such as this one.  I know that the choir members are enormously grateful to him, and we, the audience, must share in that gratitude.

Frederic Goodwin