ACS, Bollington Brass Band and Hale Prep School

“ShowStoppers” in aid of Barnardo’s

RNCM 7.30pm, Saturday 5th July 2008

Review of the ‘ShowStoppers’ Concert

RNCM 5th July 2008

In a world of downloads, mp3, cd, and of course the television, any live production nowadays finds itself having to push boundaries and be far more creative in order to capture the audience’s imagination.

Saturday’s performance did exactly that! Blowing apart any thoughts that choral music was ‘a bit stuffy’, ACS, in conjunction with Bollington Brass Band and Hale Prep School, opened up ‘a whole new world’ of musical sounds and experiences. And sights, as ACS had taken the decision to invite both Dr Paul Whittaker OBE and Andy Higgins to sign for this performance, a decision which paid dividends as judged by the reactions of both the hearing and non-hearing audience afterwards.

Show-tune after show-tune was tantalisingly dangled before us before being whisked away and replaced with yet another ‘favourite’(which we all wanted to sing along to). The children were note and word perfect (and full marks to the first soloist who coped admirably with horrendous feedback in the first few bars and showed simply that ‘the show must go on’), whilst the band showed their versatility in allowing the choir to come through in the joint pieces before showing us just how powerful a brass band can be in their own sections. I was also particularly impressed by their decision to play standing up during ‘Hello Dolly’. I don’t know which ‘dolly’ the lads were thinking of, but judging by their smiles and enjoyment she is clearly a very special woman in their eyes.

After the interval came even bigger and better, as the choir abandoned their copies and sang the final pieces from memory. The opportunity to accept the conductor’s invitation to join in ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was met with much enthusiasm from the audience, although many of us declined the much higher notes needed at the end! Top notes did seem to be the order of the day for the sopranos!

I always say with this choir that you never get a ‘regular’ performance – there is just that ‘something’ about the way they stage things that brings the venue and the performers to life, and no two concerts are ever the same. At each concert there is something significant of note, (as well as the music) and they always give you the sort of evening where no-one wants to leave. We didn’t this time either, and the applause was rewarded with an encore featuring all the ‘cast’. A moving sight, and though that was the culmination of a truly magnificent evening’s entertainment, ACS as ever had one final ace up its sleeve as both choir and children finished the concert by signing the final phrase ‘Any Dream Will Do’. I’m told that this left several of the audience with open mouths and was greeted rapturously by the signers and those watching them. As I say, there’s always something…..

But the final thoughts on the matter must go to the little boy in front of me in the foyer on the way out: “I’m just full up with music and very smiley”.

Out of the mouths of babes………..