Event review: Croydon Popchoir sings at Methodist Central Hall, July 11th 2015

By - Tuesday 4th August, 2015

Marie Phillips watches Croydon play its part in the purple powerhouse that is Popchoir

Photo by Ashok Saxena, used with permission.

A spontaneous standing ovation from the near capacity audience filled the glorious dome of Westminster’s historic Methodist Central Hall. Once again acclaimed choir director, Helen Hampton, founder of Popchoir, had inspired her purple powerhouse to deliver another phenomenal summer concert.

Popchoir’s website promises the ’opportunity to sing some great songs with a bunch of other people, to polish them up, perform them in public for fun and for entertainment, and to make lifelong friends in the process’ – and for a bunch of enthusiastic singers from Croydon, that’s exactly what it delivers. On Saturday 11th July, Croydon Popchoir’s members travelled up to City Hall Westminster to take part in an exciting and uplifting summer concert – and sing their hearts out.

From the outset the audience was in buoyant mood. Its members willingly accepted the choir’s opening invitation to join their singing adventure by heeding Muse’s battle cry, ‘Uprising’. Organised into four vocal ranges, more than 300 singers effortlessly interchanged up-tempo songs with sensitive ballads sashaying through pop’s diverse genre to showcase Helen’s unique arrangements. It was a refreshingly broad repertoire of contemporary pop, classic 80s hits and West End favourites.

The rapturous audience responded with abandon

Artistes covered included John Legend, Eurythmics, Clean Bandit, Fleetwood Mac, Duran Duran and Gary Barlow, along with show stoppers from the musicals Chess and West Side Story. Clever harmonies caused waves of vocal light and shade to ebb and flow over the audience. This created an intimate atmosphere for songs such as ‘All of Me’ and ‘My Immortal’. whilst the more powerful choral tones of ‘Somewhere’ and ‘One Voice’ sent forth a sound tsunami to engulf all in its path.

Then a second half tempo change – and Popchoir sizzled in touches of hot pink and turquoise, bringing a glitzy sparkle to the purple party. Singers were dynamic with fun choreographed moves and a ‘feel the groove’ vibe. To whoops and whistles of delight, the show climaxed with a twelve minute hedonistic disco medley. The rapturous audience responded to the intro’s calle of ‘Everybody dance” with carefree abandon. Popchoir women soaked them with ‘Raining Men’ whilst the Popchoir men transformed into the Village People. In full costume and centre stage an electric performance of ‘YMCA’ ensued. This rendition was the glacé cherry for the top of the medley’s sweet green iced ‘MacArthur Park’ cake. It was a fabulous finale to an exuberant evening – and so exciting to watch Croydon’s representatives play a part in it.

Marie Phillips

Marie Phillips

Marie performs regularly at events and charity fund raisers with Popchoir. When not singing she is a consultant legal negotiator in the investment banking sector. A twin, she was brought up in New Addington with her two sisters. Enjoying the cultural renaissance in resurgent Croydon, she lives happily with her husband and Popchoir devotee daughter, Cerys.

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