Eclectic Voices raise the roof – and spirits

posterTake 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.

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