‘Tis the season to be choral, yes Christmas brings out all our excellent community choirs in a festive feast. Regular readers will have spotted yesterday’s review of the World AIDS Day concert at St Mary’s in Kemp town, a taster menu of what’s to come and my word are we in for a treat.

A treat that came to pass last night in the rammed Dome Concert Hall for BGMC and their annual Christmas show.

I’ll start by saying that at last the choir have found a sound and lighting team that can deliver a slick and faultless show, it sounded good and looked brilliant, a sparkling and professional presentation that any pro company would be proud of.

I will also deal with a previous bugbear of mine, that being the comedy sketches that BGMC always include. Last night they were pretty much spot on, better written, better conceived and far better delivered, I loved the fairy drag mother idea and the rough northern downbeat diva was hilarious as was the charmingly camp prince and his world weary aide de camp, although as a pantomime scholar I will point out that Buttons works for the baron and the prince’s aide is called Dandini, Picky Picky Picky!

On then to the music and what a way to get me tearfully onside. Starting with O Holy Night brings back childhood memories of Dad and Auntie Nellie at the piano fuelled by Harvey’s Bristol Cream. And true to form it brought tears to my eyes.

BGMC are a powerful choir, huge in number and capable of delivering the sort of massive sound that one might expect from a Welsh male voice ensemble. Last night that sound was there for sure but there was also something that I have occasionally found lacking and that is balance, a sense of dynamics that comes from being as precise in the quieter moments as they are when belting out a big popular number.

There were a few moments where perhaps the timing drifted just a little but these were few and for the most part they were on top form.

Highlights with BGMC are often found in the well chosen solos and last night was no exception, we had a first class Sondheim duet from John McPherson and Rod Edmunds and another duet of Only You from Andrew Farr and Jonathan Taylor. A tear inducing moment with a very fine version of Joni Mitchell’s River from Ben Fowler, a powerful Your Hallelujah from Jonathan Claxton, a classic and charming Till There Was You from Rod Edmunds, delightful phrasing from Adam Betteridge with a Christmas classic and once again the pure beauty of voice and theatre from Graeme Clark with The Lies Of Handsome Men.

The music team of Joe Paxton, Tim Nail and Josh Mills are driving this choir forward with confident hands and wringing from them some very fine ensemble pieces as well as those solos. And praise must also be given to some very well crafted arrangements from the music team.

This was a fully satisfying evening, a few very forgivable wobbles along the way, an audience of fans sadly peppered with rude whisperers and what appeared to be a party of the seriously incontinent, but despite all that a great night out.

Andrew Kay

2 December

Brighton Dome Concert Hall



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