Hawick PSA Male Voice Choir had the rafters ringing in Teviot Church last Wednesday when their annual end-of-season concert once again attracted a good audience, who all found themselves tapping their feet from the first number.
‘Gonna Rise up Singing’ certainly lived up to its title and set the scene for a spectacular and varied programme of music, some traditional, some modern, but all greatly enjoyed by the large turnout of faithful supporters young and old.
This year’s guest was a male soloist, Sean Rea, who hails from Surrey but is now domiciled in Langholm. He has travelled all over the world, sung opposite Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland, has been a member of the BBC Singers, and was principal bass with Welsh National Opera and at Glyndebourne. His contribution last week was superb with songs ranging from Paul Robson to Howard Keel to the wonderful ‘Panis Angelicus’, all in a deep brown bass voice which seldom gets the solo spots in shows. He also delighted with a section when he used three different harmonicas to bring a Latin-American theme to the production.
Sean was joined in solo performances by local regulars Geoff Ross, Drew Johnston and George Storie, who gave their all in well-appreciated songs, while the main guest joined the choir in performances of ‘The Lord High Executioner’ by Gilbert and Sullivan and also in the finale, a highly-motivated arrangement of ‘When the Saints go Marching In’.
In between, musical director Ann Witherington demonstrated why all the hard work during the winter paid off with songs from Hugh Roberton’s repertoire and a beautiful arrangement she wrote herself of ‘The Isle of Tiree’. ‘Give Me that Old Time Religion’ and ‘Standing in the need of Prayer” both complemented the setting in Teviot Church and in contrast ‘Sit Down you’re Rockin’ the Boat’ from Guys and Dolls and ‘Standing on the Corner’, both from the pen of Frank Loesser had them, as they say, dancing in the aisles.
A great night of music once again from a Hawick group who wouldn’t be out of place at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival if not in the main Edinburgh Festival. Well done lads!