For the first time this year , and one of the finales of Brighton Fringe’s glorious festival, a Brighton choir has been able to perform in front of a live indoor audience , and what a great moment it was. In a socially distanced St Nicholas Church, Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus gave us a necessarily curtailed and down-sized hour of solos and duets , with compere Andrew Farr steering us through the session.
Andrew himself kicked off proceedings with the apt The Show Must Go On , which has been the tag line for all entertainers in lockdown. It was easy-sounding but with dramatic flourishes and great tonality.
Kieran Moore gave us an emotional Out There from Disney’s Hunchback , gentle , haunting and with Queer and lockdown overtones with its theme about coming out of the shadows. John Lennon’s Imagine, sung by Sadao Udea , with its simple message of peace and love , started softly but had great soaring top notes – as did many of this concert’s performers.
BGMC Chair Nick Ford always excites with his wide vocal range but mostly his ability to soar through surprisingly high notes in his register. He didn’t disappoint with Conchita Wurst’s Euro hit Rise Like A Phoenix. A remarkable spine-tingling few moments.
Jon Taylor presented a disco ABBA with Good As New and Graeme Clark gave us a Gaga-written I ’ll Never Love Again , quiet and angst-laden . Comic relief came from a bit of campery with Andy Williams giving us an impromptu dance in mid-song in Engelbert’s Quando, Quando, Quando.
Sondheim’s uplifting anthem Being Alive sung by Rod Edmunds, reminded us , as if lockdown doesn’t every day, that “ alone is alone not alive”. Another singer with a fine top range Chris Baker reinterpreted Billy Joel , with a gender swap to He’s Got A Way, a love song that certainly moved us. Jonfen Claxton gave us a sad and beguiling song of a break-up with Britney’s Every Time, and the big surprise of the show – a very clever two-part harmonising of Save All Your Kisses For Me , was beautifully performed by Rod Edmunds and Chris Baker .
A final treat was Andrew Farr and Nick Ford giving a full-voiced I Finally Found Someone .
Welcome back boys, and three cheers to Chorus Director Joe Paxton and Music Director Tim Nail and here’s to all our choruses springing back to life .