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Concert report

Welcome to the website of Croydon Male Voice Choir

Southern England's most exciting male voice choir!

Registered charity number: 1112732

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New Year and More New Faces

22 February 2024 Dave Bannister writes: There was an appreciative audience at St John's Old Coulsdon on 17 February for CMVC's first outing in 2024. For the second concert in succession, the choir included a number of new faces as more aspiring choristers from October's recruitment Open Evening felt confident enough to stage. In his opening remarks, Music Director Matthew Quinn welcomed them and commented how encouraging it was that the Sandilands rehearsal room seemed to have more people in it every week.

CMVC at Old Coulsdon (photo Brian Fitzell)

Leonard Cohen's haunting Hallelujah launched the introspective first set which also included Dylan's Make You Feel My Love and Sondheim's Send in the Clowns. After finishing with the dramatic Guardian Angel, some choir members took their seats with the audience while others trundled the imposing grand piano centre stage ready for guest soloist Harry Baker.

Matthew had primed the audience that they were in for a treat and Harry didn't disappoint. Harry's speciality is jazz/classical crossover repertoire and he started with his interpretation of Ravel's Prelude in A Minor which segued seamlessly into Cedar Walton's Ugetsu. He concluded with the super-smooth jazz classic If I Should Lose You by Ralph Rainger.

Piano prodigy Harry Baker - wowed Old Coulsdon audience

The choir moved up a gear in its next set which included the rapid Let the River Run and A Million Dreams. Matthew confessed to the audience that even he didn't quite know what the choir would do with the Song of the Jolly Roger. This time he got away quite lightly with only a few piratical eye-patches and not too many concluding "arrrs".

The first set after the interval included Matthew's own arrangement of the Irish ballad and jig Star of the County Down, which he was conducting for the first time in concert, before more piano trundling presaged Harry Baker's return.

This time his pieces ranged from classic Gershwin to one of Harry's own jazz compositions, the atmospheric Beyond the Smog. He finished with Debussy's Jardins Sous La Pluie, leaving everyone stunned by the virtuosity required to play this complex third movement of the Estampes suite.

The choir returned to premiere its latest song, Tomorrow. This is an early composition by Welsh choral composer Robat Arwyn, whose Guardian Angel featured earlier in the concert. By now the choir was in full flow and the tremendous church acoustics were soon resounding to the male voice classics Gwahoddiad and Battle Hymn of the Republic. A plea for an encore resulted in When the Saints Go Marchin' In, with the audience clapping along enthusiastically and (nearly) in time. And then of course the choir repaired to the Tudor Rose pub opposite and started singing all over again...


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