USA Singers and Stonehaven Chorus put on a show

Stonehaven Chorus with the Sacramento Mastersingers
Stonehaven Chorus with the Sacramento Mastersingers

What a wonderful experience this was for the 17 members who made up the beautifully formed Stonehaven Chorus last Sunday.

Months ago the group were asked by David Fleming of St James Church if they would like to share a concert with the touring choir from America, the Sacramento Mastersingers (SMS).

With their May concert over and the choir disbanded a small choir was formed led by Ralph Jamieson.

The pieces performed were, “Ships in the Haven”, “Air Falalalo”, “The Lord is my Shepherd” by Dilys Elwyn-Edwards and “Nu hverfur sol”. There was also an arrangement by Jonathon Quick of “Loch Lomond” jointly with the Sacramento master Singers.

Stonehaven Chorus President Marilyn Cusine, welcomed the guests on Sunday with a finger buffet in St. Bridget’s Hall.

There were 38 singers in their choir plus an accompanist and their conductor, Dr Ralph Hughes.

SMS began the first set of their concert pieces by singing an arrangement of “Shenandoah” by James Erb. The SMS choir entered from the back of the church and surrounded their audience to sing this piece and the effect was breathtakingly beautiful.

They then gathered around the grand piano for the rest of the concert. Among all of the wonderful pieces of music they sang, two by Scottish Composer, Sir James Macmillan, “Data est mihi omnis potestas” and “Lassie, Wad Ye Loe Me?” and an atypical “fun” a cappella arrangement of “The Stars and Stripes forever” composed by John Phillip in 1896, this arrangement by John Kuzma, were particularly memorable.

Mid way through their concert, The Stonehaven Chorus performed their short recital of four songs and were warmly rewarded with rapturous applause from the audience. The finale of the concert was the joint choir singing “Loch Lomond”, for which the Americans had mastered a very convincing Scottish dialect.

Following the concert, more hospitality was provided in St.James’ Hall with nibbles and drinks and elated praise from and to both choirs.

Some photos were taken for posterity and the amazing day ended with a sincere “haste ye back” and an invitation to visit them in Sacramento some day

SMS will continue on with their Scottish tour travelling to Stirling, Glasgow, to attend a workshop with maestro Sir James MacMillan and Edinburgh to perform a lunchtime Concert in St.Giles’ Catherdral.

Their favourite memories of their trip to Stonehaven are bound to be, their visit to Dunnottar Castle; our Scottish scenery, a wonderful concert performed in a perfect venue, amazing friendship and hospitality and most of all….Chorus member Jennifer’s shortbread.