Weymouth Choral Society Easter Concert

Weymouth Choral Society heralded Easter with a splendidly uplifting concert at St Paul’s Church, Weymouth, on Saturday – the eve of Palm Sunday. The centrepiece was a performance of John Stainer’s meditation, The Crucifixion and musical director Helen Brind skilfully prepared the spiritual mood by opening with a nicely-balanced selection of Easter music, both traditional and modern.

Trumpeter Winston Leese’s stylish rendering of the Trumpet Voluntary, reassured the audience from the outset that they were in for a religious treat and the choir was in exceptionally fine voice as they performed pieces ranging from Bach and Vivaldi to Howard Goodall’s Lacrymosa, a moving setting of Mary Elizabeth Frye’s poem ‘Do not Stand at my Grave and Weep’.

Another highlight of the opening selection was John Rutter’s Cantus, a solemn and mysterious meditation, based on the single word, Alleluia, sung in an infinite variety of tones.

Brind achieved throughout a delicate unity between the choir and fine individual performance by soloists Michael Dewis (Bass) and Andrew Morris (tenor), to produce a feeling of real harmony appropriate to the occasion.

Accompanist Louise Dukes had the advantage of a concert grand piano to do justice to her skills and organist David Bruce-Payne used St Paul’s fine instrument to underpin the whole evening with flawless precision.

The second half of the evening was devoted entirely to Stainer’s Crucifixion, which explores every stage of Christ’s Passion. Choir and soloists joined to produce a cathedral-worthy experience and their pure lyrical tone seemed to transform those present from an audience into a true congregation.

(Norman Hartley)