Over the years there have been many choral events in Plymouth’s Mother Church, but The Palace Theatre Choir and Orchestra’s concert was simply quite unlike anything else.
Firstly, of course, there’s the programme – largely from musicals, but tastefully blended with some repertoire standards. Yes, the hundred-or-so choir-members are miked up, but given just enough enhancement to maintain a natural balance with the accompaniment. Here the orchestra did an absolutely sterling job throughout – particularly the percussion and trumpet sections – which in itself said a great deal, given that the ensemble represented a mix of professional musicians and talented enthusiasts from other walks of life.
Then there were the excellent young soloists, all basically from a music-theatre background, which favours a particular mode of heavily-amplified voice production, but which seems totally germane to the material.
The choir, too, was in superb voice throughout – not just in the loud, production numbers – but also in two especially-delicate renditions of Moon River and Unchained Melody respectively, finely crafted by co-conductor Scott Angell.
However, it was just the unique enthusiasm, not only from the performers, but also the packed audience of dedicated followers, that really set this apart, and that has largely to be down to the drive, and sheer charisma of musical director Marcus Alleyne. Standing ovations, three encores, wall-to-wall melody and big tunes – it just can’t get much better than this.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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