As the first truly warming rays of June sunshine streamed into Loddon Hall, the Twyford Singers prepared for their first return to this popular venue in three years.

A packed house was treated to a huge feast of music, from full opera choruses to light opera and big hits from the West End shows. With seventeen pieces, two medleys and two solos to choose from it is difficult to single out one or two but the comical rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s, ‘When a Felon’s not Engaged in his Employment’ (Policeman’s Song) complete with bobby’s hats followed by ‘With Cat-like Tread’, in pirate hats creeping up on their ‘prey’, the singers captured their audience. Such frivolity was countered beautifully by the solo ‘Mon Coeur S’ouvre a ta Voix’, sung by Twyford Singers Musical Director, Helen Styles.

The banquet of music presented in the first half also include choruses of the Hebrew Slaves by Verdi, Humming Chorus by Puccini and the Anvil (with real anvil) also by Verdi. Appropriately this half ended with the lively drinking song ‘Danca Cachuca’ from The Gondoliers.

Returning refreshed from the interval, the choir pulled no punches by launching into Lloyd Webber classics ‘Memory’ and the anthemic ‘Love Changes Everything’. If this wasn’t enough, they followed this with two pieces from Les Misérables, ‘Do Your Hear the People Sing’ with the choir stirring the crusade and rallying the brave followed by the haunting ballad ‘Bring Him Home’.

The beautifully sad solo ‘Bui Doi’ from Miss Saigon was sung by choir tenor, Pippa Morton, before the evening was rounded off with songs from Phantom of the Opera, My Fair Lady and a medley of Richard Rogers including well know pieces like ‘Do Re Me’ and Oklahoma! The finale was a memorised piece call ‘Rhythm of Life’ from Sweet Charity which left the audience stunned, but in a good way.

All of this magic was made possible by the outstanding musical direction given by Helen Styles accompanied by Judith Creighton on the piano keyboard and supported by countless volunteers from the choir, friends and families.

Twyford Singers now have a well-earned break for the Summer and will be back in October with their Come and Sing event followed in December by another amazing Christmas Concert. 

Graham J Winder

(Photo: Twyford Singers Tenor and Bases singing Gilbert and Sullivan’s, ‘When a Felon’s not Engaged in his Employment’ (Policeman’s Song) followed by ‘With Cat-like Tread’).