ON FRIDAY (March 22) there was warmth in the Webster Theatre as Arbroath Male Voice Choir and their guests Irish soprano Margaret Keys and accompanist Walter Blair took to the stage in a wonderful evening of entertainment.
The gentlemen had the splendid direction of their musical director Sheena Guthrie and guest accompanist Alison Hart.
From their first note in ‘We’re singing tonight’ to the last note of Zigmund Romberg’s ‘Drinking Song’ from ‘The Student Prince’ the audience were treated to a varied programme of wonderful singing by the choir. The first group was the love songs ‘Portrait of my love’, ‘The way you look tonight’ and ‘A pretty girl is like a melody’. In each, there were very fine sustained phrases and superb singing from the gentlemen. Their second group were spirituals and the mood changed to joyful as they sang ‘Rock-a my soul’, ‘Every time I feel the Spirit’ and a very tricky arrangement of ‘Short’nin Bread’.
Margaret Keys has a lyrical voice and she wowed the audience and the choir with her choice of programme which included songs from the shows, Irish melodies and other favourites each performed in a style of her own complete with just enough amplification.
Margaret opened her programme with Malottes ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ which was sensitively sung. She then bounced on to ‘I could have danced all night’ from ‘My Fair Lady’ and proved how worthy she was to have sung the role of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway.
In the second part, the choir turned to the blues. One of Rodgers and Hart classics ‘Blue Moon’ was a joy to listen to; ‘Blue skies’ and ‘The Birth of the Blues’ followed.
Miss Keys opened her second spot with Enrico Morricone’s ‘Nella fantasia’ – ‘In my fantasy I see a just world where everyone lives in peace and honesty’.
Then there was a rendition of ‘Mr Snow’ from ‘Carousel’ reprising the role of Carrie which Margaret undertook in the Radio Television Erin Production of the musical with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. A stirring ‘Bless this house’ was followed by a moving performance of ‘Bring him home’ from ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘She moved thro’ the fair’ a gypsy wedding song which was one of the highlights.
The final selection by the choir consisted of songs from musicals.
The choir members this season are: Willie Arbuckle, Jan Birse, Rodger Brunton, Graeme Cant, Douglas Cant, Steve Cargill, Don Clark, Brian Cumming, Cedric de Voil, Campbell Dinning, Allan Esselmont, Bill Fenton, Jay Ferrier, Ian Fleming, Ross Henderson, Peter Hogarth, Colin Hunter, Duncan Hunter, Richard Irvine, Charles Jarvis, Brian Kelly, Gordon Law, Dickie Lawes, William Lawrie, Ken Lownie, Des Mardle, Ruairdh Mathieson, Graham May, Flint McCulloch, Mike Meechan, Jonathan Milne, Bill Reid, Steve Riddler, Bruce Simpson, Syd Smith, Alan Smith, Ken Southorn, Ian Stewart, Tom Swan, Ron Watson, David Whitton, Allan Whyte, Campbell Wilbourn, David Wilson, George Wishart, and Murray Wood.