Review by Don Ford
The Horncastle and District Choral Society offered their annual Christmas Concert on December 12.
The first half was devoted to excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.
In front of an encouragingly large audience for such a wet and windy evening, the choir instantly established the sort of atmosphere we all want to experience: high levels of confidence and discipline, crisp and certain entries, excellent balance between the voices, clear diction and a wide range of dynamic variety, qualities that were maintained throughout the evening.
The outstanding moments were the infectiously driving rhythms of For Unto Us, the increasingly powerful eruptions of the words “Wonderful, Counsellor!”, the startling bass entry that changed the mood of All We Like Sheep.... and then the bonus of Gail Hinkins in fine form reaching high notes with admirable grace, ease and control, and Isabel Wilson (it would have been good to hear more from her) offering rich warm lower notes, beautifully balanced.
The second half was devoted to a sensitive choice of comparatively unknown carols, which were delivered with equal skill and conviction.
The moods in all their diversity were confidently conveyed: the Baby Jesus underwent a very thorough - highly enthusiastic even - rocking, while other highlights were Rutter’s lively Shepherd’s Pipe with its inspired rhythmic setting of the name “Bethlehem”, the gorgeously aquatic Seal Lullaby - for a moment it seemed the whole choir was quietly swaying on the waves (no, I did not have a glass of wine during the interval!).
The success of the whole event depended on the immaculate training and conducting skills of Caroline Chadderton, while Chris Hinkins provided sensitive support, colour, excitement and absolute reliability in his accompaniment.
An excellent evening concluded with the discovery that the rain and the wind had ceased.