INNER VOICES DEBUT CONCERT
We are told in the Ancient Russian Chronicles that the Russians adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity in the tenth century because when the emissaries of Prince Vladimir heard the choir singing in the Cathedral of St Sophia in Constantinople, “they knew not whether they were in heaven or on earth”. Inner Voices may not yet have reached celestial levels, but anyone who was present at their first full public performance in the splendid surroundings of Westminster Cathedral Hall was aware that they were witnessing the birth of something very special.
Ralph Allwood and Ed Watkins are developing a unique idea, not only giving young people a chance to rise to musical heights they may only otherwise have dreamed of, but also bringing their talents before an educated and eager audience. It is always a delight to see Ralph conduct a choir. He exudes energy, enthusiasm and, above all, enjoyment in what he is doing. And when you see those qualities mirrored in the faces of those he is leading in song, you cannot help but be uplifted.
The programme for the event was well chosen, giving the choir the chance to display their talents across a range of music. The opening piece, Handl’s Resonet in Laudibus, sent a thrill through the audience, perfectly chosen for Inner Voices to announce their arrival on the choral stage. The reflective nature of Weep, O Mine Eyes (Bennett) and Britten’s The Evening Primrose brought out the range of the choir’s repertoire. And the closing number, an arrangement by Ralph of the Abba song, Money, Money, Money, showed that singing can be fun, too!
That closing number was, of course, a double-edged sword. To survive and flourish Inner Voices needs money. But the packed audience was left in no doubt that if they give the Choir their support they will be repaid hugely – not only by seeing these young people flourish but by being a part of something which is going to bring sheer joy to thousands.
Stephen Dalziel is a Trustee of Inner Voices