Expecting a fairly similar experience as normal, last night’s concert by the Rainbow Concert at St George’s, Kemptown had a fresh, new approach from the very start.

Sally Pullen, the new co-chair, gave the “thank you” speech pre the concert but more compact than normal so we could get on quicker with the marvellous singing that followed.

Regular audiences will be used to clapping the choirs into place as they make their long journey down the aisles but, last night, five African Djambe drums welcomed the Chorus into place. With the church decorated to support the African theme – well, The Lion King really with similar projected logo and Simba on the piano – we were treated to three African songs and then Rainbow favourite “Pakarekare Ana” from New Zealand.

The choir seemed much larger than before – around 70 I was told – and they tackled the many subtle but intricate harmonies well and were enthusiastically led and encouraged by the pocket rocket that is Musical Director, Aneesa Chaudhry. Accompanied with passion by Mojca Monte Amalia, they make a great team. (I must say, however, I miss the instrumental piano solos we used to have in the past!)

Many of the song choices were especially suitable to Brighton’s main genuinely mixed and diverse LGBTQ+ choir including “Rise Up” (nice arrangement) “Chosen Family”, “No-one is alone” and “You will be found” from Dear Evan Hanson.

The Choir is sensible with choosing simple choreography only , especially when going free-style in “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free” leading into a very bold and joyous “Africa”. Also, soloists were used sparingly therefore taking the pressure off those singers chosen.

The entrance to Act 2 was also different starting with 8 “Yee-haw” singers treating us to a Country medley then adding sections – including the RC+ monthly group – over the next three songs.

Aneesa gave short, natural and fun intros to most items although I am still at a loss as to the purpose of the (very evident) African theme for the start of the show and the setting, as it was not commented on or explained in any way!) Still, it did not spoil a very fulfilling and enjoyable evening enhanced by a brilliant pair of silver shoes sported by Annesa!

Lastly, I cannot finish without mentioning one of the silent Stars of the evening, BSL Interpretor Marco Nardi who sang and signed with enthusiasm throughout with the Chorus joining in signing to perennial favourite “True Colours”

Congratulations all.

Carole Todd


8TH JULY 2023

Rating: ★★★★☆

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