The Linsdale Singers returned to their spiritual home, St Barnabas Church, for their 40th anniversary concert at the beginning of the month.
Reflection: Choral Music to Nurture the Soul was a celebration of the choir’s strengths – soft passages and resounding crescendos.
The afternoon was in two parts – an initial concert (part of the 2017 Oxjam Music Festival), then a choral evensong.
After a modest start with Thomas Tallis’ The Lamentations of Jeremiah, Howell’s Requiem with its mix of relatively simple psalms in English and the more complex music of Latin liturgy saw the choir really capture the contrast of despair and hope, with competent soloists adding even more colour to the Requiem.
The ‘Now for something completely different’ introduction by musical director Dennis Pim was nothing if not appropriate as the music switched to three spirituals, arranged by Richard Allain, and sung with gusto.
The first part of the afternoon concluded with contrasting sets of 16th Century Tudor and 20th Century English anthems. The latter finished with an enjoyable rendition of the imaginative Paul Edwards’ version of God be in my Head.
It can be easy to drift into a sense of detachment during a choral evensong service as everything takes place behind the choir screen – but this was not the case. The crowning success of the afternoon was the way in which the choir took the pieces to the congregation with such feeling – none more so than rousing renditions of their musical director’s own arrangement of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.
St Barnabas’ organist Richard Watts accompanied the choir.
With several new, younger members, the Linsdale Singers look and sound well-set to enter their fifth decade. I look forward to the second 40th anniversary concert in the church on July 16 when the choir will perform a selection of Linsdale’s sacred and secular favourites.
> The choir started in 1977 with four friends singing motets and madrigals for their own entertainment at a house on Bideford Green in Linslade. The name came about after a misspelling in the programme for their first public performance at the Methodist Chapel, Wingrave, a year later.