REVIEW: Remembrance concert was emotional

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ST JAMES’ CHURCH, Littlehampton, was filled to capacity on Saturday (November 15), for a very moving Remembrance concert by the Edwin James Festival Choir and Orchestra, writes Gill Kelly.

The 78 first-class singers and musicians joined forces to pay tribute to the fallen, opening their performance with the orchestra playing Mendelssohn’s concert overture no. 2 – The Hebrides. Other orchestral highlights were Wagner’s Pilgrims’ Chorus, from Tannhauser, and the stirring theme from The Dam Busters.

Choir members joined the orchestra to perform Sons of the Old Contemptibles, For the Fallen, The Anvil Chorus, and the lilting Dance Polovtsienne, from Borodin’s Prince Igor, and Offenbach’s Barcarolle.

A highlight of the evening was a very moving performance of Abide with Me, featuring the beautiful voice of Littlehampton soprano, Lorna Moore. This number, along with many others, was especially arranged by musical director James Rushman, who conducted the entire concert and also sensitively played the piano while the choir harmoniously sang Requiem for a Soldier.

Chris Allen recited a very emotive poem, The Box, by Lascelles Abercrombie, and Sentences and The Last Post were followed by two minutes’ silence and Reveille.

The audience were then given the opportunity to join in and sing along with well-known First World War songs, and the Old Hundreth Psalm.

Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves ended the concert, which was attended by Littlehampton mayor Jill Long and other dignitaries. Proceeds from the evening are to be donated to the local branch of CRUSE Bereavement Counselling.

Littlehampton should be proud to have the Edwin James Festival Choir and Orchestra in the heart of the community, and to show its versatility, the choir’s next show is a light-hearted Winter Wonderland Concert, again at St James’ Church, on Saturday, December 13. Tickets are available from 01243 582330.