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  • Mick Anstice

'And Can it Be' our Gala Concert?


It certainly can...and was, our Annual Gala Concert with our special Guests the Bodmin Town Band, took place at Liskeard Public Rooms on Saturday 21st October, Despite 'Storm Brian' trying its very best to 'dampen' the event, it was a tremendous evening inside the warmth and comfort of this excellent venue.

There were a few 'firsts' on this occasion, it was our first concert with our new Accompanist Suzanne Brodie, our first Gala concert with our new MD Marcus Alleyne, bass Chorister Bob Johnson's first concert with us, and the premiere of the latest addition to our repertoire, 'And Can it Be'. This arrangement by Dan Forrest of Charles Wesley's hymn is the first new item introduced by Marcus, and we hope the first of many.

Loveny began proceedings with a set of four songs, 'With a Voice of Singing', Gwahoddiad', 'Lily of the valley', and 'song of Cornwall' (solo by Andy Williams). Marcus took on the solo on this occasion for 'Lily of the Valley' in place of Colin Arthur who was unwell and very unfortunately couldn't be with us.

Bodmin Town Band, West of England Section Champions this year also came a very creditable 9th in the UK National Championships at Cheltenham, under the direction of their excellent MD John Maines. Their consummate skill and precision was clearly demonstrated as they entertained us beautifully with their opening set of pieces, 'King Cotton' (J P Sousa), 'Song for Ina' (Phillip Sparke), 'Czardas' (Johann Strauss II), and 'Nabucondonosa' (Guiseppi Verdi). Apologies to all the girls and boys (well no offence intended, but that's what they seemed like compared to our bunch of mainly 'senior' citizens) for the cramped confines of the stage. Loveny completed the first half of the programme by singing 'Cornwall My Home', 'Home from the Sea', 'Kentucky Babe' and 'The Rose'.

After the interval Loveny continued the programme with 'Steal Away' (solo Pat Broderick), 'Tibyay Payom'....with Marcus stepping aside to sing with the Tenors.....rather than directing, 'Softly as I Leave You', and finally our premiere of....'And Can it Be'. We hope we didn't disappoint Marcus or our expectant audience!

Bodmin Town Band resumed their masterclass of musicianship, rousing us with their last set of four great pieces, 'Starlight' (Alan Fernie), 'Trumpet Blues and Cantabil' (Harry James), 'Valdres March' (Johannes Hanssen) and finally 'Folk Festival' (Dimitri Shostakovich). The audience gave their very clear and enthusiastic appreciation of the band, and the talented soloists who performed so ably in both sets. We very much hope to arrange a reciprocal concert with the Band in Bodmin at some point during 2018.

The Choir reassembled for the final set of the evening, starting with a 'novel' delivery of 'African Prayer' directed by our 'Assegai wielding' MD (well actually he did put it aside to direct), and culminating in a foot 'stamp'. It went down remarkably well, and after 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' it was presentation time.

The Cornwall Federation of Male Voice Choirs presents awards in recognition of long service to Choristers who have served in Cornish choirs for 40 years. It had been intended that four awards were to be presented by Terry Hodge, President of the CFMVC, but unfortunately he was unable to attend due to ill health. In Terry's absence, Paul and Marcus presented the awards to Jack Roberts, Mike Tamblyn, and Roy Sandover, and in a bittersweet moment, to Sandra Preston who accepted an award for her much missed husband Mike Preston who sadly passed away in August. Congratulations to all and thank you for your support and dedication over the years to Loveny MVC. After a bouquet of flowers was presented to Suzanne, and tokens of gratitude to Marcus and John Maines, Loveny closed proceedings with a rousing rendition of 'American Trilogy'.

With the support of every Chorister supplying refreshments, our wonderful Ladies had laid out a buffet banquet, and we are most grateful to Janet Haley, who (thanks to Mike Spong) had literally brought the contents of St Neot Institute bar with her. We were therefore able to enjoy a celebratory drink too, which of course lubricated our tonsils for our traditional afterglow sing.

A final heartfelt thanks to Marcus, Suzanne, our MC John Ead, Janet Haley, Lorena and our wonderful Loveny Ladies, Frank Evans who worked tirelessly to put the concert and concert programme together, Roger James who brought the trailer over from Bodmin, and all of the Choristers who helped to set up, and take down the staging. Last of all a big thank you to all of those who braved the awful weather to join us for what was a wonderful and enjoyable evening.

Our next full concert will be in St Neot, our Christmas Concert with the St Neot School Children on Thursday December 14th at 7.00 pm, but before then we have a more informal 'Concert and Cornish' evening at Lanhydrock Golf Club on November 12th, tickets available from the golf club (01208 262570) and to include pasty, cream tea and saffron cake....proper Cornish!


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