It is probably one of the best (if not the best) adults’ choir in Great Britain. We are talking about the Northern Spirit Singers, winners of the Choir of the Year Category Finals at the Royal Festival Hall in 2014, one of the most important contests in Britain which brings together the best amateur choirs of the country.
How did they find themselves in Cephalonia?
Rather by chance since their founder’s parents live permanently on the island. Apart from that, an exciting concert was organized for the internationally acclaimed choir (they have also won the international competition “Venezia in Musica“), with the help of the local British community and the municipality of Cephalonia.
What made us… jealous
The island clearly has some very good vocal groups, some of which could worthily represent Cephalonia in the rest of the country and even abroad. There are the Argostoli Choir, which has occasionally offered some excellent performances, the KEDIKE Choir, the Tsikena Ensemble with its original repertoire etc. Such choirs could easily take part in international vocal festivals. What is more, anyone who has not yet heard the church choir set by Agathangelos Georgakatos (director of the Choir of the Opera) with a mixture of amateurs and cantors serenaders who chant Orthodox hymns with the unique Ionian dialect, misses out on an important part of Greek religious tradition.
But what we really envied about the young Britons, most of whom are University of Durham graduates, music teachers or singers of Northern England, was their challenging repertoire.
Many of their songs were exciting and demanding and despite the fact that the choir pivoted its choices around sacred music, they took the audience on a journey from the Baroque to the present day and from Monteverdi and Rachmaninoff to the gospel, the soul and the Beatles. Thankfully, the locals almost flocked to the municipal theatre. It would have been a pity to miss such a good choir.
Another important element is that they sang songs from the 20th century, pieces by well-known or unknown musicians or even, by their friends.
Needless to say, their technique was excellent: there were times when you thought you only heard four voices, they demonstrated absolute precision and their technical errors were minimal. Something we didn’t like so much was that they probably considered The Beatles to be “sacred” so they sang this legendary band’s song as if they were gospel. Nevertheless, there were moments when the timing, the musicality, the perfect direction by the two musicians who alternated in the conducting and their accuracy, fascinated the audience.
We sincerely hope they visit the island again for another concert as we were offered a rather rare musical experience by an excellent British choir of young people.
Click below to watch 12 videos from yesterday’s concert.