The Winter Choral Concert is one of the many highlights of the NECOM Performance Calendar every year. Minisingers, Cantilena, Cantilena Chorale, Side-by-Side Choir, New England Singers and the New England Singers Chamber Choir all gave outstanding performances on the evening.
The Minisingers (a choir for children aged from Kindergarten to Year 2) opened the concert with a round; Little Leaves/Winter is coming accompanied by Boki Lay, Ayalla Kanety and Harriet Minter on cello and violins. Their next song was very complicated, as the audience sang London Bridge is Falling Down, the Minisingers sang Seagulls Seagulls. It was wonderful to see the young musicians perform actions and listen to each other carefully as they were singing, showing that ensemble skills are developing early. Finall, they performed three songs from Blinky Bill’s Adventures by G Lehmann, based on the much-loved children stories, Blinky Bill, Leaving Home and The Bunny Hug. All three were audience favourites in terms of catchiness of the music and the adorableness of the choir members impersonating koalas and bunnies.
Constance Dunham had the pleasure of conducting the Cantilena Chorale (an auditioned ensemble of children aged between Year 4 and 6) as they performed Suo Gan a traditional lullaby, and a rousing performance of Take to the Sky by Paul Jarman; both items were accompanied by Warwick Dunham on piano.
Cantilena Singers then took to the stage and presented Skye Boat Song, a traditional Scottish Folk Song, and Whenever The Wind is High, an atmospheric and rhythmic setting of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Windy Nights by T. McNeal.
It was delightful to once again hear the Side-by-Side Choir, made up of students from Armidale Secondary College’s support unit and their fellow students. They were conducted by Rowena Teege and accompanied by Warwick Dunham on piano. The choir performed two pieces including Tim Rice’s A Whole New World followed by the classic Side by Side by H. Woods, a piece that showed off the sheer joy of the choir members and received overwhelmingly loud cheers from the audience.
New England Singers Chamber Choir under student conductors Erin Page and Belle Perrottet performed Love Me Sweet by Carl Vine and fly Me to the Moon by B. Howard. These pieces illustrated the effectiveness of NECOM’s conductor mentoring program, giving students the opportunity to learn the art of choral conducting under the mentorship of Phil Oxley and Leanne Roobol. The choir concluded with New York Voice Dance, and impressive acoustic a capella piece by G. Jasperse conducted by Inga Brasche.
The full New England Singers Choir joined the stage to perform Black is the Colour (traditional arr. G. Partington), Ballade to the Moon (D. Edler) and Ether of Infinity (D. Walker) with the final piece accompanied by Clare Warwick on cello. Melodically fresh and boldly stepping into stylistic influences, they come across with great charm. This choir, supported beautifully by Robyn Bradley on piano, has become one of the premier musical ensembles in New England, and the group didn’t disappoint.
The program was rounded out with the final piece for the evening seeing all the choirs returning to the stage for a massive combined performance of Camille Saint-Saëns, If I Had Words. Conducted by Side-by-Side Choir’s Rowena Teege and accompanied by Warwick Dunham, the performance was a tribute to the solidarity for all of NECOM’s choirs and brought goosebumps to the whole audience. Click below to see the wonderful combined performance of If I Had Words:
A big thank you to all our teachers and accompanists who have worked so diligently with the many choirs. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such talented artists. Thanks also to the students for their commitment to fine music-making, and to all parents for their continued support of all that we do here at NECOM. We are now looking forward to the Christmas Concert at the end of the year!