Waves of applause washed around St Andrew’s Church in Plymouth from an audience delighted with Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s sea-themed programme of music, performed for their summer concert. 

Elinor Chapman sung the demanding soprano solo in Carter’s Horizons which sets to music seven sea poems including works by Anne Brontë and Rudyard Kipling. Crossing the Bar, which may have been written by Tennyson while anchored off Salcombe, was the highlight, with the choir communicating the beauty and emotionally charged meaning of every phrase.

Baritone soloist Mark Boocock led the charge in Stanford’s Songs of the Sea telling stories of the legend of Sir Francis Drake and recounting an engagement with the French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar. The work provided an opportunity for the choir to showcase a range of styles, the melancholy of leaving home and the longing to return to loved ones being palpable, to letting their hair down as they sailed the seas from Westward Ho! to Trinidad. 

The wonderful singing was anchored in the fact that director of music, Christopher Fletcher, had again worked his magic with the choir to deliver the perfect balance of singing from the heart, but with attention to detail on dynamics and diction.

The warmest applause was given to the Fletewood School choir who were a tremendous credit to their headteacher and conductor Mrs Rachel Gray. The children had great fun performing a selection of sea shanties putting a smile on everyone’s face to words such as ‘a dish of rotten fish wouldn’t do us any harm’ in Roll the Old Chariot Along.  The two choirs combined to sing John Rutter’s anthem Look at the World which perfectly rounded off a joyful afternoon of music.

A bucket collection raised £280.64 for the RNLI and the choir would like to thank everyone concerned for their generosity.

Rehearsals for the next concert start on Thursday, September 5 at the Meade King Hall, Plymouth College. If you are interested in joining the choir please contact the membership secretary, Pat Brodie (01752 330337 [email protected]). 

Details about the choir’s next event, a Singing Day on Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace on Saturday, October 12, are available on the choir’s Facebook page and at wegottickets.com/event/621228 

Mary Johnson