University of Plymouth Choral Society Christmas Concert at St Andrew's Church (review)

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When audiences start following the text in their programmes, it can often mean that they can’t make out the words being sung – or that they are simply finding the whole thing hard going.

Conductor Simon Ible and his ever-enthusiastic singers ensured that neither situation occurred at the annual Christmas Concert, delighting the large number present not only with the variety of music on offer, but also by ensuring the programme itself was never overlong.

The choir excelled in the unaccompanied festive items, while also making telling contributions when joined by the UPCS Sinfonia, led by Mary Eade, who were in particularly good form on the night, and nowhere more so than in their especially poignant reading of Bach’s Air on the G String.

Simon also has an uncanny knack in bringing outstanding young soloists to the city, and in Ruth Jenkins (soprano), Martha Jones (mezzo-soprano), Rupert Charlesworth (tenor) and Adrian Powter (baritone) he could not have found a more impressive team, their compelling individual voices blending perfectly in ensemble-work.

With a newly-composed carol by Jaemus Downing, plenty of opportunities for audience participation, once again this will surely have sent everyone away full of Christmas cheer and spirit – the ideal aperitif for the days ahead.


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