Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus: It’s Christmas

The BGMC has always fascinated me, from the first time I heard them sing to the present day and that has truly been a privilege. As a lover of choral music of all kinds it has been a fascinating experience to watch and hear this fine ensemble grow and change, from enthusiastic through to where they are now which is exceptional.

Community choirs are of coursed made up of amateurs and on the whole do not employ an audition process, but on Friday one might be excused for not believing this to be true. Their former repertoire of pop classics, ballads and cheesy skits has served them well but a change has occurred and that change is the result of a change in choral director. Joe Paxton now wields the baton and he does it with an assured hand.

But it is not only this that makes the difference. The team are now tackling a far more challenging programme that allows them to still nail those popular anthems, but alongside this they gave us some really impressive moments from the classical repertoire. A rollicking good Hallelujah Chorus saw them working those voices but even more so a breathtaking rendering of Purcell’s What Power Art Thou from King Arthur listed in the programme as “Frost Scene”. Well spine tingling as it was there was nothing frosty about this performance that sees the choir hitting new heights of musicality.

The pop and fun was not missing, plenty to please for all and the silly skits had been replace by poignant readings in the first half and an excellent rendering of The Grinch in the second.

BGMC have always given the stage to great soloists and break out groups and there was no lack of talent on display on this occasion, to many to name all. All excepting one. It would be peevish not to give individual praise to the stunning voice of Jonathan Claxton who sang Gravity with ethereal grace,  the richness of his voice matched by his excellent phrasing, talk about hairs on the back of the neck rising…

Once again this fine group of singers prove that in the right hands they are certainly a match for almost any professional choral ensemble.

All Saints Church Hove

6 December

Andrew Kay


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