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What better way was there to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee on a lovely summer evening, than to listen to some great music from a wide variety of composers and performers.

Phoenix Choir with Director Michael Fields were joined by the Eastbourne Youth Concert Band, soloists Ansy Boothroyd, soprano, Nigel Richards, baritone, Lucy Leleu, trumpet and accompanied by David Force on organ and piano. Their 'Happy and Glorious' concert at All Saints Church was enjoyed by a large appreciative audience.   

The evening began with the traditional and proud rendition of God Save the Queen sung by the choir with the audience joining in for the second both pieces composed by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The concert then opened with Flourish for Wind spiritedly played by the brass section of the band, equally well played was English Folk Song Suite.

The choir sang five pieces from the Queen's Coronation,  I was Glad by Parry, Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace by Wesley, Vaughan-Williams Sanctus from Mass in G minor, Stanford’s rousing Gloria in Excelsis and finally just before the interval the choir gave a great performance of Handel's wonderful Zadok the Priest.

Everyone enjoyed trumpeter Lucy Leleu, who played Prince of Denmark's March by Jeremiah Clarke and Nigel Richards, who led the choir and audience in Jerusalem.  His beautiful voice filled every corner of the church without the use of a microphone and his rendition of Some Enchanted Evening from Roger's and Hammerstein's South Pacific (which opened 60 years ago in America) and Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat from Guy's and Doll's by Frank Loesser thrilled all listening.

There were three beautifully sung pieces from Ansy Boothroyd.  Her lovely singing of Sweet Chance by Michael Head, My Heart is like a Singing Bird by Parry and Nunc Dimittis by Geoffrey Burgon was a real treat.

The choir enjoyed singing the joyous My Spirit Sang All Day by Finzi and Linden Lea by Vaughan-Williams. Two Beatles songs, When I'm Sixty Fourand Let It Be when they were joined by four clarinets from the Band and Michael Fields on electric guitar.  John Rutter's specially commissioned This is the Day for the wedding of William and Kate and The Lord is My Shephard by Howard Goodall represented more recent music from the Queen's 60 year reign.

The Band's performance of Dam Busters March by Eric Coates and James Bond Suite really showed their abilities to the full.  Both piecd es were splendid giving all the band members a chance to really let rip, thrilling the audience.

With Ansy resplendant in Union Flag sash leading the choir and audience the evening ended with two of the great 'Last Night of the Proms' anthems, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.  There were smiling faces all-round the church as everyone sang at the top of their voices and waved their flags at the end of a truly memorable celebration of our Queen and our enjoyment in our musical heritage.

Happy and Glorious

All Saints' Church, Eastbourne, May 2012

Phoenix Choir


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