REVIEW: BRING ON THE MEN
After working with the same musical director for more than 10 years, Actually Gay Men’s Chorus appointed a new MD last summer as Jason Pimblett passed the baton on to Samuel Cousins.
Their Christmas Show, Let it Snow in December was very much a work in progress and gave Samuel an opportunity to show us what he intended to do with the chorus.
Their latest offering Bring on The Men at St Andrew’s Church on Saturday, April 8, left us in no doubt of his direction. In just 10 short months he has completely remodelled the focus of the chorus.
The Actually’s trademark ‘wall of sound’ is still called upon when needed but Sam has moulded the singers into a tight musical ensemble, who listen carefully to each other when singing, giving them a new found confidence when singing softly, which ultimately makes for a more musical performance. Their rendition of Benedictus and Sondheim’s Being Alive performed with Jason Sutton were a revelation.
Jason Sutton hosted the first half of the show as himself. It featured many favourites from the Actually’s back repertoire including stirring performances of This is the Moment, Tonight/Somewhere from West Side Story and a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber numbers which included a ravishing rendition of Music of the Night.
Soprano Sophie Causbrook joined the chorus in Prima Donna and for a truly epic arrangement of Adele’s Skyfall.
Miss Jason returned to host the second half in drag which allowed everyone to relax and let their hair down a bit.
The performance of Man of La Mancha and Impossible Dream made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as did the sensitive interpretation of Stars, while Broadway Baby gave some of the soloists from the chorus a chance to shine. But this night was all about the chorus with Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers and Anthem from Miss Saigon showing just how much improvement they have made.
A good concert needs good programme planning and this concert was very well constructed. Each half was perfectly balanced, all brought to a climax with a fine medley of numbers from Miss Saigon climaxing with the wonderful Schonberg & Boubill number, Last Night Of the World. They sang it like they really believed it was.
Every soloist during the evening acquitted themselves very well, as did Simon Gray on piano and Colin Blanchflower on keyboards.
But, this was first and foremost an evening about the chorus and the progress they have made in the last 10 months.
My choral teacher at music college always said a good choir should make you feel like you are being swaddled in a fur coat. Actually Gay Men’s Chorus certainly managed that for me and I think everyone in the church felt the same as the audience reaction right from the start was ecstatic and the ovation at the end was really heartfelt.
The chorus should congratulate themselves for making an inspired appointment when they chose to work with Samuel Cousins. He has the skills to take them to the next level and be a great chorus.
Your next opportunity to hear Actually Gay Men’s Chorus in concert will be at Love Actually on Friday, August 4 at St Andrews Church starting at 7.30pm.
For more information, click here:
LET IT SNOW!
There’s a flurry of activity underway in Brighton & Hove as Actually Gay Men’s Chorus add a dusting of sparkle to their Christmas production ’Let It Snow’. This is a real fixture on the city calendar each year and the perfect way to start the festive season’s celebrations.
On Friday 23rd December at 8pm, the doors to St Andrew’s Church, Waterloo Street in Hove, will be open wide for the Chorus to extend a warm welcome and bid their audience a very Merry Christmas in true festive, feel good style.
The evening will feature a blizzard of traditional carols, festive music and more, with plenty of opportunity for audience participation. ‘Let It Snow’ will be conducted by Musical Director Samuel Cousins and compered by Chorus patron and audience favourite, Gerry McCrudden.
‘Let It Snow’ will be raising funds for ‘Inclusion For All’ and ‘The Rainbow fund’
Tickets £12, £10 concessions available with no booking fee from www.actuallygmc.org and also from the Iron Duke, Waterloo Street, Hove.
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE!SEPTEMBER 2016
Following the sellout success of their Halloween performance last year, Actually Gay Men's Chorus are embracing their dark side once again as they bid you ‘Welcome To My Nightmare!’
Take your seats if you dare for an evening of music, mystery, monsters and the macabre to start this Halloween weekend off in devilish style.
Presenting the show and performing with the Chorus for the first time will be the frightfully fabulous Martha D’Arthur, bringing her unique fiendish yet fun style to the occasion. This will also be the first Actually production as they enter their second decade and will be fronted by new Musical Director, Samuel Cousins.
ACTUALLY MARCH WITH INCLUSION FOR ALL, LONDON PRIDE 2016
schools safer places
NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR ACTUALLY GAY MEN'S CHORUS
Actually Gay Men’s Chorus is delighted to welcome Samuel Cousins as their new Musical Director, who with his choral experience and boundless enthusiasm will lead them into an exciting new decade.
After a recruitment process involving the whole Chorus, everyone is very excited about the appointment and eager to start singing together again, following a short break after their successful tenth anniversary show in May.
Today we had the privilege to stand in solidarity with friends from the Rainbow Chorus and Brighton Gay Men's Chorus and all of the LGBTQ community of Brighton & Hove to remember those people from our community who were murdered in #Orlando. We remembered, we sang, we hugged, we loved.
We reach out especially to our brothers and sisters in Orlando Gay Chorus: please know that we are with you.
The LGBTQ choral movement came about to provide a safe space for queer people to get together, to socialise and to find their voice in a loving, supportive environment; and that is exactly what Brighton & Hove did today. We reached out to show that love will win.
(Thank you to Ayşenur Karabulut and Andy Thompson for the photos)
SONG FOR A NEW WORLDMAY 2016
Read all about it in pages 48/49 of the new June edition!