Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Another annexe event!

In October we welcomed back Off Centre who gave us another interesting mix of music old and new, interspersed with some solo items from members of the choir and a couple of readings.

Another title for this concert could have been "An evening with Rex Latter and friends" because no fewer than 8 of his arrangements or compositions featured in the programme, and they showed the breadth of his output from a setting of Psalm 150, an arrangement of the Spiritual Standing in the need of Prayer to an enchanting take on A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square. Rex, who is organist at Bognor Parish Church also sings tenor with the choir and can also be found accompanying them - a very versatile man!

Of course, Off Centre were with us for a reason - which was alluded to in Lesley Bromley's reading: A Short History of the Smallest Room, which was delivered with a flourish and received a justifiable "flush" of applause.

Highlights of the first half included an arrangement of an ancient Polish hymn to the Virgin, Gaude Mater Polonia, and a new take on Tennyson's words from In Memoriam "Crossing the Bar" in music by Rona Arbo, arranged specially for Off Centre by Rex Latter.

After the interval the music moved into a lighter vein: the Rhythm of Life included Berkeley Square's Nightingale before moving onto Something Wonderful from The King and I. A short breather for the choir while Ian Smith sang and we then entered the realm of childhood with works by Rutter, Andrew Carter and Michael Stocks - yes, Christopher Robin was saying his prayers!

Among the solo items, one of the many local musical medics, Martin Ridley, played a simple Humoresque for organ by Pietro Yon - a pretty, dancing little number which shows the organ can do more than play hymns: but the item which grabbed everyone was Ian Smith's singing of If I were a rich man from Fiddler on the Roof - a great song delivered with panache and sparkle.
The evening finished when the Chatanooga Choo Choo left the station, sped on its way with a Gaelic Blessing from JohnRutter.

The retiring collection for the Church Rooms Project was £355.85 A most enjoyable evening which raised valuable funds for our Annexe. Sincere thanks to all the members of Off Centre and we hope to see them again in the not too distant future.

Joanna Chivers-Gibbs