Local choir raises roof in Pevensey

Ansy Boothroyd in Noteworthy Voices SUS-160102-093137001
Ansy Boothroyd in Noteworthy Voices SUS-160102-093137001

If you choose to call your small band of singers ‘Noteworthy Voices’ then you’d better be good.

Fortunately their performance in St Nicholas Church, Pevensey, on the evening of January 23rd, soon demonstrated that the title was well-deserved.

During the ten months or so since tenor Richard Long brought the group into being, they have achieved a remarkable standard under their talented conductor Ansy Boothroyd.

The word had got round, as tends to happen in the musical world of Eastbourne; and a large audience braved the unlit car-park and damp, rutted approach to the church for a brilliantly-conceived concert of a cappella singing.

Ten female voices, seven male; nothing more!

Three settings of O Magnum Mysterium displayed Noteworthy Voices at their finest. Victoria’s Spanish setting from the sixteenth century contrasted with Poulenc’s and Lauridsen’s from the twentieth.

A well-planned printed programme was a model for others to follow: a card “outer” gave such vital facts as the singers’ names, with a flimsy “inner” offering brief summaries of every item and composer.

An easy choice might have been to perform one lengthy work; but I was delighted to hear so many short examples of music by Grieg, Cornelius, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Warlock, Howells, Poston, Tavener and Walton, among others less well-known. This ensured that we could all take home a few favourite memories.

Throughout, the musical balance was well-maintained. Two singers (Zoe Harris and Ray Williams) had brief solo spots; and there’s no doubt that Ansy Boothroyd (herself a soprano who will be singing as soloist with the Phoenix Choir shortly) had, on the evidence of this concert, moulded a fine new musical treat for us all to enjoy in the future. Not surprising, really, as she is also a potter.

- Noteworthy Voices is a small choir formed in 2015 by Richard Long, an experienced chorister of many years, to explore the heritage of choral music available. Their next performance is likely to be May 7 when the choir plan to present another mixed programme ranging from Robert Pearsall to composers such as Debussy, Poulenc and Britten. Please check www.noteworthyvoices.co.uk for details.