REVIEW: Fine unaccompanied singing from the Sussex Harmonisers and guests

The Sussex Harmonisers and guests with Mark Grindall. Picture: Charles Hobley
The Sussex Harmonisers and guests with Mark Grindall. Picture: Charles Hobley

Sing with The Sussex Harmonisers Christmas Concert, St John the Evangelist Church, Burgess Hill, December 12

This festive concert featured unaccompanied (naked or a cappella) singing of well known Christmas music by an enthusiastic and capable choir.

For five rehearsals, the male-voice Sussex Harmonisers had invited both male and female guest singers to join them to prepare music for the show.

Led by the Harmonisers’ chorus director Mark Grindall, the rehearsal and concert were both fun and friendly, producing some very accomplished music in four-part harmony.

The audience of more than 170 people were also encouraged to sing some well-known carols, again without the normal backing of a piano or organ. The programme was interspersed with readings, which varied from traditional bible segments, through thought-provoking items about Christmas, to a poem concerned with the number of meals it takes to finish off the turkey!

Highlights of the full choir’s performance included a moving interpretation of ‘Silent Night’, haunting harmonies in the ‘Coventry Carol’ and a cheerful rendition of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.

The second half of the concert began with three songs performed by the male-voice Sussex Harmonisers chorus, including one of the songs the group will sing in a national contest next May.

The chorus were able to confirm two exciting announcements about plans for January.

First, the formation of a brand new chorus for women, called The Harmony Corporation. The group will benefit from the well-established organisation of The Sussex Harmonisers and the skills of their chorus director. Like the Harmonisers, the new chorus will sing a cappella, four-part harmony. Potential members should contact for details or just turn up at 7.15pm on any Monday starting January 8 at St Paul’s College, Burgess Hill.

Second, there will a new singing course designed to help men with their singing. The free course will run over five successive Tuesdays starting at 7.15pm on January 9, also at St Paul’s College. All men with an interest in singing are encouraged to come along.

Further information from or just turn up on the 9th or a following Tuesday. No auditions are involved and you can be assured of a warm and friendly welcome.

At the end of the concert, which was regarded as highly successful by both the audience and organisers, there was a retiring collection which raised a magnificent £650 to be split between the St John’s Church Fund and the Harmonisers’ nominated charity, St Peter and St James Hospice.

Prepared and submitted by David Waterhouse, secretary of The Sussex Harmonisers

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