STEETON Male Voice Choir welcomed a full house to Christ Church, Skipton, last Saturday, writes Martin Winterton.

Under the baton of musical director Catherine Sweet ,with accompanist Pat Jones, the concert more than fulfilled its advance billing and showed the increasingly versatile range of the choir’s repertoire since Cathy joined the choir less than two years ago.

The rousing and popular “Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha was followed by the gentle “Fields of Gold” by Sting. The first set ended with a spiritual, “Standing in the need of Prayer”.

David Barraclough from the bass section then performed the beautiful song, “Cavatina”. Composed by Stanley Myers in the 1970s and originally featured in “The Deer Hunter”.

Guest soloist was Sally Clement. Sally’s voice range was given full rein in her selection which included, “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini; “The Little Shepherdess” by Rossini; the haunting “Elizabeth’s Song” by Michael Head and “Poor Wand’ring One” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Her performance, especially in the sustained notes in the higher register, was amazing

The second set contained a George Formby medley, “Just George”, with “Standing By a Lampost” and “My Little Bit of Blackpool Rock” sung with good enunciation and great gusto and enthusiasm. Then two more reflective numbers, “Always on my Mind” and “Let it be Me” were followed by the moving medley of American Civil War songs, “An American Trilogy”.

After the interval came two northern songs, “The Keel Row” and “Bobby Shaftoe”, both of which involved quite complicated part singing and also variations in tempo. The Choir coped with these admirably and followed it with “A Working Man/Calon Lan” – an arrangement featuring a violin introduction by second tenor Ian McDonald. This was a tribute to second tenor David Jenkins who died last year and who taught the Choir to sing “Calon Lan” in Welsh. The set ended with “Anthem” from Chess sung with great feeling.

To demonstrate their versatility still further the choir produced a small instrumental group to back Roy Talbot singing “Wild Mountain Thyme” and supported in the chorus by the Choir (and many of the audience). This was followed by the traditional hymn, “Gwahoddiad”, then Bill Relton’s arrangement of “Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At” which the audience loved. The evening finished with the Scottish song, “Highland Cathedral”.

The evening displayed the hidden talents of choir members. The people of Skipton and Craven are lucky to have a choir with such a national and international reputation.