29 April 2019
Yesterday, the Stenton Singers put on a very imaginative and inspiring concert in Prestonkirk. They are a well-established choir working under the baton of Lynda Jeffrey, regularly raising funds for charity. This time it was for LORD, Late Onset Retinal Regeneration.
There were two major song cycles. The first was Stanford’s energetic and thoughtful, ‘Songs of the Fleet’. The listener was well-rewarded by the choir’s enthusiasm in ‘The Song of the Sou’wester’ and its sincerity in the Fare Well with its references to death, used to great effect in Great War commemorations.
The second was ‘Days that Changed the World’. The words were by Charles Bennett and the music by Bob Chilcott. They celebrated the invention of the printing press, the abolition of slavery and the successes and failures of the Wright brothers’ attempts to fly! They were all very engaging and provided much stimulus for the imagination!
There were three accomplished solo singers and two instrumentalists – the one playing a Handel sonata on the treble recorder and the other Gaelic airs on the clarsach. All very refreshing. John Anderson was the accompanist and did a brilliant job especially in the wonderful song cycle accompaniments.
My all time favourite was a very unusual song written by Bob Chilcott, ‘Like a Singing Bird’. It surprised and delighted in equal measure. For one of Scotland’s most famous love songs, ‘My luv is like a red, red rose’ became the wonderful foil for Christina Rossetti’s poem, ‘My heart is like a singing bird’. It was a magical moment when the two became one!
Songs from Carousel and Verdi’s Nabucco together with a very popular ‘Johnnie Cope’ completed the line-up. Lynda Jeffrey is much to be admired. Her challenging ways bring thoughtfulness and vitality in equal measure to choir and concert goer. This is one concert by the Singers which should not have been missed.