Thursday, June 16, 2005

Choirfest at Central Hall Westminster

Last Friday we were invited to a choir at Central Hall Westminster. This was to be my first ever choir. I already had negative preconception on how choirs are like which was why I wasn't really looking forward to it. But I decided to give it a shot. It was a Friday night so we were all going to rub shoulders with Tory voting toffs.

And we got lost. Living in London for so many years meant that I knew we would get into trouble navigating London's many streets. And the area surrounding Westminster Abbey isn't a place I usually hang about. The last time we were in the area was last year's New Year's celebration when the police decided to shut down Westminster tube station and we had to walk the mile to Victoria station.

I got the leaflet from the box office. It is called Choirfest London. It featured a choirmaster called Frank Boggs who looks like James Cameron, a soprano called Angelique Clay and guest conductor Noel Tredinnick who looks like a Hobbit (from the photograph).


Because we got the cheapest ticket we were ushered to seats that has zero visibility of a single singer. Which was a little stupid because the hall was only 15% filled. After the first repertoire we moved to £12 seats (we paid £6). Unfortunately we were not thrown out.

And I will tell you why. It was rubbish. It was my first choir. And nothing on the leaflet stated that this would be a religious choir except maybe the word 'Spirituals'. Well you all know what I think about organised religion, so you should understand why I was displeased when they started singing about some guy called Jesus Christ.

Well anyway you can see how far my bias goes when it comes to the subject of organised religion that it can cloud my views on a simple choir. Some may say change the lyrics and you may like it but I disagree. This is something one can't just learn to like. Similarly you could force me as much R&B or Hip Hop bullcrap down my ears and I will still won't be able to accept it even if it contains lyrical contents that I would approve. It may be torturous but I won't succumb.

Central Hall Westminster

And this choir was simply bad. My grand aunt who attends many religious choirs agrees that the singing was rubbish (she refused to clap). Jennifer with her extensive knowledge in classical music critised the conductors and the organist. The American bloke sitting in front of me voiced his disapproval on such an amateurish performance. No wonder the hall was only 15% full - on a Friday evening no less!

To their credit I did manage to like one song. The classic Irish(?) song Danny Boy was sung by the choir sometime during the second half when I was almost sleeping. I have heard this song sung many times during the countless St. Patrick's Day events and in films such as Memphis Belle.

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