The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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July 2017

Junior Choir Prom

Suzanne Pinkerton

Like the Laws of the Medes and Persians, the Junior Choir Prom must happen every year - and quite right too!

So, off we went with a Junior choir favourite - Caccini’s Ave Maria.  The girls tended to supply the top line simply because there were more of them.  The long runs which adults would be expected to do in one go, were gracefully broken up to suit children’s voices. Next was “Down by the Sally Gardens”, a poignant song which has wandered through solo recitals, (I remember Aidan Coburn) to ensemble singing.  The words are important, so it was a good idea to stick to unison.

Wesley’s “Lead me Lord” very rightly gave Evelyn Fitzpatrick the chance to lead off with a solo, as she has just got 98% for her latest singing exam! 

Roland Foster showed some good development in his big notes when he sang “Mariä Wiegenleid” by Reger - but in English.  He had quite enough to cope with without starting on the German!

Next was a young gentleman from far away.  Sandro Gogidze is Georgian!  “Morning has broken” couldn’t be more English and he seems to be our smallest choirboy, but he stepped up to the plate!

I went all misty-eyed when Louise Fitzpatrick sang that wartime classic “We’ll gather lilacs”.  I got my first proper professional gig with Sadlers Wells’ production of “The Merry Widow” in Melbourne in 1960, as chorus, by singing it for my audition.  Louise looked as if she were enjoying it - and her top voice is coming along nicely!

Young Mr Fitzpatrick - we’re talking Clark here - was next with a bit of good old Thomas Arne, “Blow, blow, Thou winter Wind”.  Some lively notes!

Then it was Jordan (The Jazz Man) Nash, not on piano today.  “Where’er you walk” seems to be sung by all sorts of voices - I guess Handel wouldn’t mind - and that tricky bit - “Trees where you sit - REST - shall crowd into a shade” worked very well.  Jordan’s got rhythm!

Lindsay Fitzpatrick sang Grieg in Norwegian!  Impressive!  Do keep going, Lindsay, your voice has got potential!  In case we’d forgotten this family’s versatility, Evelyn Fitzpatrick played a Rondo by Dussek on the piano. “If a hitch occurs, carry on”.  It will get better - much better - and it did!

Christina Zandstra sang “Omens of Spring” which was completely new to me.  An interesting start for a little girl, and Mary Leonard “Felt Pretty”, in true Bernstein style.  Give her another year and it will be even better.

Clara Bove then sang “My Ship” by Kurt Weill.  I had had a Weill Weekend as RAM Opera was presenting “The Threepenyy Opera”.  And there’s a Threepenny Prize for guessing which baritone, not unknown at HPC, was wicked Mr Peachum!  Clara picked up the cabaret style nicely.  Shenandoah, a classic sea shanty, is more likely to be sung by a male voice choir but it sounded touching sung by a little girl (Lottie Faulkes).

And finally - I hope you’re still with me! - Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing - not in Gaelic! - to bless us all.

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