Conductor Antony Brannick introduced this concert and also gave short informative talks on the last 70 years, one featuring wars and the other technology. The first part of the concert had royal associations: Elgar’s vigorous Pomp and Circumstance march no 5 featured Antony Brannick on piano and was followed by Parry’s flowing anthem “I was Glad”. The choir then sang Palestrina’s beautiful “Sicut Cervus” with its mingling melodies. Accompanist Jenny Sheldon did justice to the long instrumental buildup in Handel’s powerful “Zadok the Priest”.
The second half featured music from the last night of the Proms. It opened with three of the sea songs arranged by Henry Wood: “The Saucy Arethusa” was followed by the sad “Tom Bowling”. Then came the hornpipe, “Jack’s the Lad” with both Antony Brannick and Jenny Sheldon on piano, joined by Jonathan Whitehead on violin and Heather Hudson on woodblock. This was a triumph and had the audience clapping and stomping along and trying to keep up as the music accelerated.
Then came the more familiar Pomp and Circumstance march, no 1, also known as Land of Hope and Glory. The audience joined in, as they also did with Parry’s “Jerusalem” and the National Anthem, this time with a second verse. The Choral Society gave us a great celebratory performance.