The Actually Gay Men’s Chorus brought the B.Righton.On LGBT Arts Festival to a close on Friday, February 22, with a wonderful concert at St Mary’s Church in Kemptown. The concert was performed against the backdrop of a spectacular laser light show produced by Protech Productions, which was projected from behind the chorus over the audience and into the church helping create a different atmosphere for each number the choir sang.
The show opened with what I can only describe as a “a wall of sound” as the 24 strong chorus exploded into song, with Requiem from Evita and the title song from Phantom of the Opera featuring the soprano Samantha Howard singing at the very top of her vocal register. It was a spine chilling moment as the chorus filled the magnificent surroundings of St Mary’s and the soprano’s voice soared into the rafters of the church. Rarely will you experienced such a relatively small number of singers produce such a massive sound. It was wonderful to listen to.
A selection from Moulin Rouge followed including renditions of Roxanne, The show must go on, Nature boy, and One day I’ll fly away featuring Samantha Howard once again. The arrangements were excellent and the light and shade the chorus brought to their performance accentuated the romantic focus to these particular numbers.
Jason Pimbett’s arrangement of Albinoni’s Adagio and Rodriguez’s Concerto De Aranjuez for chorus followed. Both were ideally suited to the wonderful acoustics of the church and for me personally the combined choral sound the choir achieved was at its very best during these two numbers. A particularly poignant rendition of England My Lionheart followed.
The first half ended with a taster from the chorus’s coming shows during the Brighton Fringe Festival entitled The Music Of The Night, a celebration of West End musicals which they will be performing at St Andrews Church, Waterloo Street on April 26 and 27. Tonight they sang Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers including: Memories from Cats, Music of the Night and Prima Donna from Phantom of the Opera, I don’t know how to love him from Jesus Christ Superstar and Go Go Joseph from Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. The audience roared their approval.
The second half of the concert was turned over to songs from the choirs new album. Somewhere for me. After signing a recording deal with Universal Records in 2011, the company recorded but did not release their first album last year. The choir have released it themselves and it is simply stunning.
My favourite performances on the night were Hurt by Trent Reznor, the albums title track, Somewhere for me by Thea Gilmore and God loves everyone by Ronald Eldon Sexsmith. Other tracks performed included: The Last Goodbye by The Enemy, A heart needs a home by Richard Thompson and the lovely arrangement of Playgrounds and City Parks by Ian McCulloch.
The Actually choir are expertly directed by Jason Pimblett who produces many of their arrangements and has trained them into an impressive and musical vocal machine. They can do loud, they can do quiet, they can do soft, they can do hard, but most importantly they have the ability to communicate their love of music to their audience. I have heard them sing many times over the years. This was the best sound I have heard them achieve and it was perfectly suited and enhanced by the majestic surroundings of St Mary’s Curch.
For more information about the Actually Gay Men’s Chorus: click here:
For more information about Protech Productions, click here: