There’s that undefinable something that happens (or doesn’t happen) at some point every year that hits the heart and says to you, “Mmm, feels like Christmas.” That happened for me and I suspect for many in the St John Sub Castro audience last night at the Paddock Singers concert.
Currently led by the very capable Ruth Kerr (who like her predecessor John Hancorn, can as easily face away from conducting the choir and sing solo) this all-woman choir is still a relative newcomer to Lewes. Formed out of a 2007 production of Orlando Gough‘s The Finnish Prisoner, this not-for profits group has grown and shaped itself into an accomplished and well-loved institution in just a few short years.
Last night’s concert was fairly ambitious as well as warm and welcoming to a general audience of music lovers looking for the often elusive spirit of Christmas. They gave us excerpts from Benjamin Britten‘s stunning Ceremony of Carols, arrangements by John Rutter and even a lovely new song by Helen Glavin written especially for the Paddock Singers. Jonathan Cullen was on hand to offer classic readings of works by Charles Dickens and Washington Irving, baritone Chris Parke joined in as soloist on Cornelius‘ The Three Kings and Ruth Kerr sang a lovely In the Bleak Midwinter. Interspersed were well-known carols giving all of us the opportunity to resonate.
Having heard this group several times in the past I can happily say that their blend, their intonation and their musicality has developed beautifully and that they are quickly becoming a very fine example of what an amateur singing group can be when the right people are in the right guiding hands and are committed to making good music.
The audience’s response at the end of the concert and throughout was enthusiastic and rightly so. This is a group that Lewes can be proud to claim as its own. Thank you, Ladies!
by Paul Austin Kelly