REVIEW: Louth Male Voice Choir’s 40th anniversary concert earns a standing ovation

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Louth Male Voice Choir celebrated its 40th anniversary with the Dutch choir Albatros at a packed St James’s Church, Louth, writes Fred Goodwin.

LMVC began – singing Lily of the Valley softly under the tower. After LMVC chairman Malcolm Kerridge introduced the concert, Albatros, colourfully attired in red tunics, launched into a group of Russian songs.

Under the energetic control of their conductor Anton Stulp they at once displayed their richness of sound, dynamic range, lively diction and rhythmic ensemble singing.

The LMVC took the stage next with their conductor Graham Burrell and piano accompanist Gwyn Law, and began with Maori songs – the opening war chant striking terror into the hearts of the audience.

In the three calypso songs that followed they coped effortlessly with the syncopated rhythms and then they moved on to a lyrical rendering of O Danny Boy, a version of What shall we do with a drunken sailor? Full of verbal dexterity and finally Bridge over troubled waters.

In the second half the LMVC again demonstrated their wide range, from the dramatic effects and hand-clapping of Homeless and quiet singing in Prayer of the Children to strong unison singing in The Rose and tricky off-beat rhythms in Blue Skies.

Albatross followed captivating the audience with a striking range of pieces including the traditional gospel song Elijah Rock, with their brilliant jazz piano accompanist, Cas Straatman.

Finally the two choirs sang two items together, one in Dutch and one in English, the sound filling St James’s Church in a fitting climax to the evening, rewarded with a standing ovation from the audience.