Youth choir raises the bar

Southern Youth Choir
St Paul’s Cathedral
Friday, May 24


The Southern Youth Choir entertained a large, very youthful audience in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday evening.

Under the innovative and artistic conductorship of John Buchanan, the choir is growing, the performances are of increasingly high standards and chorister conductors are encouraged.

With wide-ranging repertoire, confident spoken introductions by selected choristers gave relevant information about each piece.

The Choir sang with pleasing intonation — apart from a few lapses in the sopranos — good diction, stylistic awareness and linguistic ability. Facial expressions revealed singers’ obvious enjoyment.

To the rhythm of a solo drum, the choir danced down the central aisle singing Carly Simon’s Let the River Run which introduced the concert. The altos enjoyed themselves too much thus affecting the choral balance. The final chord was mesmerising, dying away into the cathedral’s acoustics.

Rosie McAllister confidently conducted Karl Jenkins Exsultate, Jubilate and All the Things You Are by Jerome Kern.

The five spirituals from Tippet’s A Child of our Time are a mainstay of professional choirs’ repertoire. Conducted by John Buchanan and with four excellent soloists, the choir performed two of these spirituals with aplomb.

Nineteen singers formed a Chamber Choir and sang three pieces, the most impressive of which was Rachmaninoff’s Bogorditse Devo in authentic-sounding Russian.

Supportive accompanist, Sharon McLennan, was also a guest artist playing a well-sculpted Rachmaninoff Prelude in D Major, Op 23, No 4. Joining with violinist Leo Malcolm they performed John Williams’ evocative Theme from Schindler’s List.

Christopher Marshall’s Minoi, Minoi was conducted by Emanuel Nolden.

A string quartet joined the choir in a performance of Dan Forrest’s I Thank You God for Most This Amazing Day. The choral texture gradually grew out of the sound of the string quartet most effectively.

The concert ended with a prolonged standing ovation. The choir repeated the concert in Alexandra on Saturday.

Review by Judy Bellingham