Southdowns Concert Band and the Walton Voices triumph in Chichester Cathedral

Southdowns Concert Band and the Walton Voices
Southdowns Concert Band and the Walton Voices

REVIEW BY Gary Shipton

A Journey Through Time and Space, a concert at Chichester Cathedral

The Lord's Prayer has been recited time beyond count in Chichester Cathedral during the building's thousand year history.

But whether it has been previously sung in Swahili with the singular beauty and power of Saturday's concert will be a matter for historians to discern.

For this was a magnificent conclusion by Southdowns Concert Band and the Walton Voices to an incredible musical evening.

The Festival of Chichester is now seven years old - and with each passing annual milestone it gets bigger and better both in terms of the number of events and tickets sold and the sheer quality of the community offering.

This year's keynote concert combined the potency of big band with the spiritual majesty of the sung voice.

Billed as a Journey Through Time and Space, musical directors Tom Hodge MBE and Jonathan Kilhams - wow, what a talent - had the broadest possible brief.

But they resisted the temptation to rehash a range of popular classics.

True, there were some old favourites - Handel's Zadok The Priest and Mars from Holst's planet suite.

However, premiered works and sophisticated arrangements of lesser known gems set the whole evening apart - while a Big Band Spectacular had everyone's feet tapping.

'Dad' by Jack Hurst was a particularly poignant way of introducing the evening's charity, Sage House and Dementia Support. Sylvia Worden spoke eloquently from personal experience of her late husband Bill's struggle and why this initiative is so important.

Compere Kate Mosse OBE - world best-selling novelist, playwright and Cicestrian - pulled the whole evening together with class, pace and flawless diction.

A terrific concert that proved why the Festival of Chichester is now an indispensable part of the city's cultural calendar, made all the more special by the unerring support in the audience from our own national treasure Dame Patricia Routledge.

REVIEW BY Gary Shipton