REVIEW: Funtington Music Group’s Christmas party

The Funtington Music Group’s Annual Christmas Concert was an exciting diversion from the Society’s norm as they welcomed the forty strong University of Chichester Chamber Choir in the University Chapel.

The Choir was led by Arthur Robson, the University’s Director of Choral Studies. The repertoire chosen by Arthur Robson, radical in its own way, allowed him to show the development and variety of the genre of the carol from the end of the Middle Ages up to the present day.

Arthur Robson is well-known for his direction of many choral festivals throughout Europe, and it was obvious right from the first notes the Choir sang, that he has that special skill that enthuses his students and encourages them to raise their singing to a melodious and eloquent range that on this occasion far exceeded expectations. From Mendelssohn’s Ave Maria, enjoyable for both listener and performer, to the swinging Negro spiritual, Amen, Amen, the Choir radiantly held the attention of the audience, whether they sang pianissimo or fortissimo.

On occasion, the main choir was allowed to rest while the Otter Consort performed. This smaller choir performed pieces as well-known as Silent Night, but also enthralled with their version of The Boar’s Head Carole, the earliest printed carol in England from 1521. Soloist Ryan Giggs’ singing was masterful, particularly with an aria from Handel’s Messiah. He demonstrated unbelievable breath control, mellifluous tone, and surprising clarity of notes, with a control far beyond his years.

The entire programme, wisely chosen and sung with the utmost expressiveness and skill, was a pure delight. David Tinsley, Chairman of Funtington Music Group, told the audience, “This was such a clean and fresh approach to the world of carols. How lucky we are to have such talent from the University, under the auspices of such a wonderfully experienced producer, Arthur Robson.”

Further details of the Funtington Music Group can be obtained from the Membership Secretary, Mrs Elizabeth Brooks, on 01243 378900.

Chris Linford