Songs of joy showcase talent and assist lifesavers

By Liz Wylie

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The Lyric Singers performing at St Mary's Church in Whanganui on Saturday. Photograph by Bevan Conley.
The Lyric Singers performing at St Mary's Church in Whanganui on Saturday. Photograph by Bevan Conley.

St Mary's Church in Whanganui was the perfect venue for the Lyric Singers' Look at the World Christmas concert last Saturday.

Described as a "geometric joy" by one visitor last year, the church provided wonderful acoustics for the combined voices as well as piano and euphonium.

The Lyric Singers, conducted by Joanna Love, kicked of their first set with The Song Has Just Begun by Joseph M Martin and concluded their second set with Chuck Berry's Surfin' USA.

Given that the concert was a fund raiser for Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service, the last song was a very suitable choice.

A number of the singers no doubt spent their teenage summers on the beach when the song was a huge hit, and it was easy to tell they were enjoying themselves.

In between there were fine renditions of Once in a While, from a Distance, Away From the Roll of the Sea, Wade in the Water, Jesus Child and a Gershwin Brothers' medley with some fine solos from Sandra Wilson, Sharon Ross and Marie Brooks.

The Whanagnui Intermediate School Choir performed four songs conducted by their teacher Roz Armstrong who also provided guitar, ukelele and kazoo accompaniment.

The versatility of the young singers was quite astounding as they started off with a traditional Zulu song Humba Nathi and followed up with I Wanna Be Like You From The Jungle Book.

The choir sang Seasons of Love for their second set and then surprised the audience with The Christening, a song by Liverpudlian wartime comedian Arthur Askey.

Vincent Collins, who recently completed his piano grade 6 training with Marie Brooks, played a two piece medley This is the Police and Sonata in D minor by Scarletti.

Euphonium player Ethan Mancer, who was selected to play with the New Zealand Secondary Schools Brass Band this year, played Song of Eternity and Grandfather's Clock accompanied by Joanna Love on piano.

Both piano and euphonium sounded beautiful as they echoed from the many-faceted ceiling.

The concert concluded with the combined choirs singing Look at the World by John Rutter.

Lifeguard Alex Forlong accepted a cheque from the Lyric Singers on behalf of the Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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