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The Halle


It was a celebration which had been 500 years in the making, and clearly is destined to be an evening which will be long treasured by all those present, whether they were involved in organising the event, participating in the concert or simply present as spectators at what is probably one of the most spectacular evenings staged in Giggleswick.


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from Graeme Lawson

Photo by Peter Keron

Despite a day of intermittent downpours, the evening itself remained dry and this added considerably to the convivial atmosphere on the field as the crowds gathered to enjoy picnics prior to a concert of popular classics which offered something for all ages and tastes. Introduced by Sir Tim Rice, the programme opened with a wonderful performance of Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture”; a fitting start to an evening of celebration. There followed a mixture of favourites drawn from a range of traditions which allowed for sparkling contributions from not only the professional soloists but also Giggleswick Choral Society and the assembled school choirs. The young choirs were particularly worthy of note, not only for the exceptional quality of their singing but for the outstanding way in which they conducted themselves in what must have been a truly awe-inspiring situation when faced not only with a professional orchestra, a full adult choir but also a massive audience. They never faltered; and huge congratulations must go not only to them but also to the staff who have coached them to this level. Their performance of Chilcott’s “Can you hear me?”, which also incorporated signing, was deeply moving. The Giggleswick Choral Society also acquitted themselves with honour; singing magnificently both in the choral numbers such as Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves as well as supporting the soloists with great skill in numbers such as Mascagni’s Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana and a rousing performance of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. Again, congratulations not only to the members but also to their director, Darren Everhart. If the evening itself sparkled then the soloists – Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Barry Banks (tenor) and former Giggleswick student Sarah Fox (soprano) – were most certainly the jewels in the crown. Their contributions to the evening included magnificent duets such as Bernstein’s “Tonight”, Lehar’s “Lippen Schweigen”, Verdi’s “Brindisi” and Bizet’s “Au fond due temple saint” from the Pearl Fishers. There were also some beautiful solos which included traditional folk songs, Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” and Dvorak’s “Song to the Moon”. In such a feast of delights it would be only too easy to overlook the brilliance of the orchestra itself, but this was very much to the fore in numbers such as the “Intermezzo “ from Cavalleria Rusticana, Walton’s “Crown Imperial” the lively flying theme from ET and most particularly the amazing finale of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”. Here the fireworks provided a dazzling display against the striking backdrop of Giggleswick Scar, to conclude a fantastic evening which will live long in local memory.

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