Saturday, 22 September 2018

Review: Henley Youth Choir at Henley Festival

The big top at Henley Festival’s Family Sunday provided the perfect venue for a joyful performance by Henley Youth Choir (HYC), a choir of around 60 children aged between seven and 15 years in smart new red and black T-shirts.

Henley Youth Choir
Henley Festival
Sunday, July 10

The big top at Henley Festival’s Family Sunday provided the perfect venue for a joyful performance by Henley Youth Choir (HYC), a choir of around 60 children aged between seven and 15 years in smart new red and black T-shirts.

Their talented and energetic conductor Tom Edwards introduced Alfie Hay’s Henley Seasons, a collection of 12 songs that track seasonal events in Henley, as a “cantata for Henley” which set expectations.

We were not disappointed. Under Edwards’ baton, the children delivered a confident performance while having lots of fun.

They sang from memory and their behaviour, including great eye contact with their conductor and good entries, was near impeccable.

Their excellent diction allowed the audience to appreciate the lyrics as well as the catchy rhythmic tunes.

HYC is divided into a senior and junior section and the performance moved between the two sections with both unison and part singing: a truly great achievement for such young children.

The seniors’ two-part singing of A Beech Hangs was beautifully contrasted with the following slightly spooky Put Out the Lights and two trios of seniors bravely took turns to sing harmoniously in Walking with Jesse.

As we moved through the seasons, amusing actions were added to the songs: the part of the Mayor in May Fair had an uncanny likeness to our recent mayor!

The seniors in boaters and regatta splendour clearly conveyed the humour in Regatta Raver and the whole choir rounded off the afternoon with Jewel of the River, a piece that has been sung by many local schoolchildren.

The four professional musicians accompanying the children - Anita d’Attellis (piano), Susie Fison (flute), Jane Gray (oboe) and Jon Woodhouse (clarinet) - added to the most polished performance of the HYC to date.

This was a great showcase for HYC, reflecting not only the splendid efforts of the children but also the hard work of the conductor, Fi Harding, and other members of Henley Choral Society who have nurtured this project over the last two years.

Come, sing and have fun with Henley Youth Choir. Contact Fi Harding 07947 658252 or email fi.harding@sky.com. HYC starts again on Monday, September 12.

Review by Susan Edwards



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