Family Carol Concert Review - 2016

Sussex Chorus Review for Family Carol Concert 19 December 2016


Sussex Chorus Family Carol Concert is now becoming a staple diet for Christmas celebration in Burgess Hill. The large SATB choir, complete and glorious under the direction of Alan Vincent, Musical Director and composer, sang not only to us but with us, as the ample Kings Church’s crisp, bounteous acoustics lifted us into the heartiest Christmas cheer.  Alan smartly led the audience’s children into rhythmic joy, through percussion instruments in several numbers, with neat attention to musicality whilst retaining the sense of occasion. The whole performance was expertly accompanied on keyboard by John Walker, maintaining the overall feel of a live, warm family concert.

A wonderful add-on this year, before the concert started, Miriam Allaby, winner of the Sussex Chorus Cup in the singing class of The Mid Sussex Competitive Music Festival was warmly congratulated by the choir and audience.

The delicate, modern rhythms of John Rutter’s “Star Carol” opened, which was executed with crisp diction and stylistically light vocals. Familiar carols unrolled – “It Came upon the Midnight Clear”, swelling through the audience. We listened to neat phrasing and dynamics and received a warm invitation to stand and sing. We were clearly meant to be part of this concert! Alan Vincent’s “A Babe is Born” is delightfully written and sung with much sensitivity, the acoustics carrying it gently to the back seats. Philip Stopford’s “Lully, Lulla, Lullay” again suited the clear acoustics, allowing the choir to produce a heartfelt account of this carol’s story, with further clear diction and legato phrasing. “O Little Town”, arranged by Vaughan Williams, led us gracefully back to the peace of Christ’s birth.  Peter Warlock’s “Adam lay yBounden” was delivered as an appropriately solemn piece with soloist Jessica Adkin delivering clear vocals with much precision and musicality. Her warm tone reaching every ear.

The concert continued in this rocking motif of familiar and modern pieces with another of Alan’s compositions and solo from Jessica. Nine more carols followed, each equal to the former in abundant musical technique and style, building with increasing joy. We were transported to the conclusion in mighty choral Christmas cheer, followed by free drinks and multiple hot mince pies in the warmly decorated foyer.

Alison O’Gorman