Event review: Croydon Bach Choir’s Transatlantic Journey, Saturday 25th June


By - Wednesday 6th July, 2016

Rufus Jones, aged thirteen, is impressed by the performance of a boy soprano in a varied and lively summer concert


Photo by Edmund Jones, used with permission.

As I walked into St Matthew’s church, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d been to past concerts by Croydon Bach Choir due to my mother being a member, but this was a change of pace for me. The performances that I had been to before were more traditional but I was open to change. My mother said that she felt nervous before the performance too, as some of the music was difficult to sing.

Clad in his finest suit, Tim Horton, the conductor and director of the choir, walked to the stage. The audience went silent as he bowed and proceeded to make an introductory speech about Croydon’s many festivals and what the concert had in store. He let us know in advance that some of the music would be sung in Hebrew, saying that he couldn’t guarantee the choir’s pronunciation.

The Hebrew music was called the Chichester Psalms and was written by Carl Bernstein. This was the first to be performed and the most interesting to me because it featured a boy soprano around the same age as I am.

The star was very definitely Benn Hill

His name was Benn Hill. He comes from Trinity School and is a member of its choir and a really good singer who also seemed extremely composed during the performance. I was extra impressed at the fact that he could memorise all of that Hebrew… so good on him! I’m not mainstream in the hymns department, but the Chichester Psalms were a real ear-opener. The music was very discordant and sometimes the choir was almost shouting. It was very different from the way you would expect a psalm to sound.

After the interval, which included drinks, we heard a series of sea shanties, Songs of the Fleet, by Stanford. These were quite dramatic and featured another very good soloist, this time Peter Brooke, who is a bass. Finally came From the Bavarian Highlands, songs by Edward Elgar which Tim Horton explained to us seemed to have rather silly words and he was right: one was about a man who saw another man outside his girlfriend’s house, immediately assumed she was cheating on him and according to the song, stormed off and never came back. My mother told me that he’d only seen the postman. But I did like the lively way that the choir sang the songs and the performance was very varied.

Overall, I would say that the concert had its ups and downs but it was a great show with the star very definitely Benn Hill. It can be an effort to listen to things that are very different to your usual tastes but I find that it can be very rewarding.

Rufus Jones

Rufus Jones

Rufus is in year 10 at Archbishop Tenison's School, Croydon. He has a passion for art and design and a keen interest in history and writing, taking after his father. In his spare time he enjoys gaming.

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  • Anne Giles

    Rufus – you are a star – well done!