Marvellous – for all sorts of reasons, not the least being the resilience of the musicians to perform, many under the weather, and at the same time cover for those that were too ill to attend. The Chamber Orchestra set the standard with some delightfully crisp Rumanian Dances: Bartok challenges musicians and audience alike at times, but the subtle dissonances and harmonies were all beautifully combined. Next, the Symphony Orchestra took to the stage, meaning the Chamber musicians changed seats and many more were added! MacCunn’s stirring The Land of the Mountain and the Flood (with 1970s BBC theme tune embedded) very much did as advertised – we were there, up high, looking down on mist, waterfalls, lake and turbulence. Inspiring and uplifting in equal measure. And then the energy rose again: Music from Jurassic Park has its dark and sombre elements, but it also has a racing crescendo which the Orchestra revelled in, to produce the kind of rousing finale that brings joy to the heart and a bounce to the step. Wonderful work by the instrumentalists from start to finish.
The second half: the turn of the Choral Society as it performed Mozart’s Missa Solemnis, alongside soloists Mrs Williams, Ms Weston, Mr Chaundy and Mr Taliotis. Mr Penny asked for the audience’s sympathy with some 30% of the Society laid low… but sympathy was barely needed as the few rose to the challenge to create a dramatic and mesmerising performance supported by the fine professional orchestra. Teamwork, camaraderie, enthusiasm and resolve in adversity – the mark of our musicians, brilliantly brought together under Mr Penny’s unflappable leadership in trying circumstances. Many, many congratulations one and all. And thanks to the audience for the retiring collection of £159.2.