Kings Junior Voices ‘Fiddle-de-dee’ Summer Concert,

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Review of – Kings Junior Voices ‘Fiddle-de-dee’ Summer Concert, 10th July 2017

By John Giles

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”.

In the midst of so much gloomy news it was a real tonic to go last week to a children’s concert held in the Ante Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.

King’s Junior Voices was a choir founded in 2008 as part of the national project “Sing Up”.  KJV now number a hundred and are split into three choirs by age. Any child can join. There are no auditions and no membership fees.

The running and financing of the choir is carried almost entirely by King’s College from their own musical resources .The whole world knows from the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christmas that these are considerable. Even so it was inspiring to see the College prepared to back up music from the wider community in this way with college staff giving their services free.

For this concert a local C of E Primary School choir and the Imps Choir from Ely Cathedral, a similar sort of project, in which a granddaughter of ours was singing, were guest performers, so the total number of singers was a hundred and fifty.

All three choirs sang songs of their own choice, joining together for the opening and closing items. The music was splendidly varied and great fun. I was struck by the enthusiasm and dedication of the music teachers working with their children. This was truly vocational and pastoral as well as professional, and very good to see in action. So much work of this sort goes on with so little acknowledgement or praise.

Much of the music was difficult, with voices singing against one another both in  notes and words. Yes, Britten was included with his “Jazz Man”, also songs by Jonathan Dove, Irving Berlin,

with some from Africa and the far reaches of Europe, and deliciously “A wandering minstrel I” from Gilbert and Sullivan. Some of the pieces were quite meditative and serious, and Alleluias were sung.

In this music the children were indeed learning and being stretched. Behind the performances were many hours of practice. They rose to the challenges superbly, making that great point that the more we ask of the younger generation the more they will give.

The candle here was well and truly alight.

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