A spirited rendition of Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’ made an ideal opener, followed by the other anthems he wrote for the Coronation of George II.
In these, and in Haydn’s ‘Mass in Time of War’, which filled the second half of the concert, the choir sang with confidence, though at times they were rather overpowered by the orchestra.
There were many memorable moments, aided by well-blended singing from the quartet of soloists, with notable solos from soprano Jessica Broad and bass David le Prevost, and in the Handel bright, soaring lines from lead trumpeter Gareth Balch.
The Haydn Mass, as its title suggests, provides dramatic contrasts between martial trumpets and drums and more lyrical passages, and the dance-like conclusion brought the concert to a very satisfying end.
However, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the first performance of island composer Clive Malabar’s ‘Silent Stars’, specially commissioned by the choir. Inspired by a verse from Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of the Lord, the skies proclaim the works of His hands’, the piece evokes the experience of looking up to the majesty of a clear night sky, with a message of praise, purpose and hope. The choir clearly enjoyed singing this attractive piece, there were many lovely details in the orchestration, and the audience responded with appropriate enthusiasm.
The event, which had been organised by the Isle of Wight Cantata Choir, was well attended by singers from several singing groups and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Will led the workshop with enthusiasm and verve through a variety of his works, many of which have a jazz theme. The afternoon finished with a performance of his Jazz Missa Brevis, a work that was written by Will for Portsmouth Cathedral Choir.
One member of the choir summed the day up on Twitter: ‘Great day with Will Todd today, feeling happy, jazzy and exhausted!’