Take a group of everyday individuals who sing for pleasure, throw in some brilliant professional muscians, add a sprinkle of magic from a multi-talented American living in London and you have a wonderful choir called Eclectic Voices.
Last night I heard them perform at St Paul’s, Covent Garden, also known as the actors’ church because many famous stars either worshipped there, are buried there, or remembered there, and I was blown away.
Under the guidance of director Scott Stroman they have been moulded into an accomplished and versatile group with a repertoire that is as broad as their leader’s vibrant personality.
Using hand signals much like a platoon leader silently directing his soldiers, Stroman played them like an instrument – now louder, now softer, repeating a phrase, or bringing out individual voices and sections and then blending them back into the whole.
The programme included Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Bach’s Gloria, a dash of jazz, and more carols including Mary’s Boy Child and Joy to the World, the last two requiring audience participation.
Sad to say, I think we were a long way short of the lusty, full-throated singing the occasion deserved.
Maybe we were collectively being polite to each other (not wanting to spoil the moment with our tuneless growling) but on a night like this no-one would have minded.
Singing for joy – not in the bath or the shower or the car – but in public with one other is so uplifting.
It’s something we’ve lost somewhere along the way in a world of always available, instant on, portable music.
We need to get back to it.