Sunday 20 January 2013

Pink Singers 30th Birthday

Pink Singers 30 Years 1983 - 2013
The Pink Singers started 2013 with a 30th birthday concert at Cadogan Hall on Saturday 19 January. The concert took the form of a retrospective, a greatest hits concert, with samples of repertoire from the three decades of the choir's existence. Each decade was prefixed with a short video which highlighted the events and the music of that decade, and during the songs old photographs of the group were projected, including some of me conducting them in the '80s which were truly scary!.

The repertoire was eclectic, including madrigals by Orlando Gibbons and John Farmer, an arrangement of Rossini's William Tell Overture, the Dies Irae and Lacrimosa from Mozart's Requiem, Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer (Op 52, No. 13,14 & 15 in German) and Karl Jenkins Adiemus. But the core of the repertoire lay in song from shows an contemporary ballads, so we had Kander and Ebb's Maybe This Time, Noel Coward's There are Bad Times Just Around The Corner, Some other time from Berstein's On the Town, music from Rent, A Little Night Music and Les Miserables, plus Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Always on My Mind and many more.

One or two numbers deliberately harked back to the early days, and the two oldest serving members Philip Rescorla and Michael Derrick (both of whom joined in the period I was directing the choir) gave a performance of There are Bad Times Just Around The Corner which brought back many memories. Hearing Tom Robinson's Glad to be gay again brought a lump to the throat, and I was glad to see that the choir continues the tradition of updating the lyrics.

The choir numbered around 80 strong, and apart from one or two items from the first set, sang from memory, an impressive achievement given the amount of music. Most numbers were done as big ensemble numbers, but many featured an array of talented soloists and some were sung by smaller groups. Many of the numbers were choreographed, but even those that were not were carefully considered, so that the choir always looked good. Most numbers were directed by musical director Murray Hipkin, but a few were taken by other members of the choir.

This was an enormously enjoyable concert, extremely well presented and very creditably performed. I felt that the choir was most comfortable in the big ballads, and it was here that you could see that all on-stage were enjoying themselves enormously. The response from the capacity audience was stupendous.

The group have just produced a new CD, celebrating their 30 years, entitled P. S. We're 30. Their July concert will feature a new commission from Richard Thomas, the composer of Jerry Springer the Opera, and the group has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to support and exhibition and oral history project covering the 30 years of the group's existence.

Further information from the Pink Singers website.

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