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I cannot remember enjoying a concert as much as this one! The MH Choral Society called it Celtic Connections, and the songs they sung by were all Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Cornish or Manx. (OK, they sneaked in one from Northumbria, but who can resist “Dance to your Daddy”?) The music was beautiful, emotive, nostalgic and tuneful and the arrangements were wonderful. Mostly the singers were unaccompanied and their voices wove a spell. It was not even broken when the audience were encouraged to join in the choruses for some songs! The projected photos were both suitable and a scenic tour around the locations sung about.
A lot of the songs were well known, like “Danny Boy” and the “Skye Boat Song”, but many were not and stealing the show for me was “Follow the Heron” by a new Scots composer. Unforgettable! The Small Group within the Society introduced us to four lesser known songs. Phil Spittle brought comedy to “The Wild Rover” and we all joined in the chorus, --complete with claps. The men of the choir sang “Men of Harlech” with enormous gusto while the ladies’ rendition of “The Blue Hills of Antrim” was incredibly moving and peaceful.
Perhaps because so many Celts were forced to leave the homes they loved, many songs were very nostalgic and none more so than Robert Burns “Ae Fond Kiss” and, of course “Auld Lang Syne”. (Have you ever heard the whole of it?)
This was a treat of a summer concert and all the choir, plus Anselm Kersten, their Musical Director, deserve real praise.
by Vivien Window