The Concert in Gävle November 26th.2005

Gävle Concert Hall
Gävle Symphony Orchestra
World Festival Choir
Conductor: Petras Bingelis
Soprano: Christina Högman
Alto: Hilary Summers
Tenor: Sean Clayton
Bas: Olle Persson

The concert in Gävle is now history, and we have many new and good memories from another successful concert. As many of you already know, we had this time many cancellations from conductor and soloists.
It all started when Charles Farncomb collapsed and was hospitalised the night before departure to Gävle.
All phones at the office in Sandefjord got hot that morning at the attempt to get in touch with a substitute conductor that short time before the concert. At last, Jan was lucky and got a positive answer from Petras Bingelis from Kaunas, Lithuania, who managed to postpone an already planed performance and said yes to step in for Charles Farncomb.
We already know Petra Bingelis from our Concert in Kaunas that he conducted, and we felt secure that the concert would be good.
Petras Bingelis is extreme intense conductors who have conducted The Messiah for many, many years. Relieved to know that the problem was solved, we went to Gävle.
The same afternoon we got the message from Neil Makie that he was ill too.
He recommended Jan to get in touch with one of his students, Sean Clayton, a talented young man of 25. So we did, and we did not regret that decision.
Sean Clayton has a voice smooth as butter, and he impressed everyone.
Then finally, the day before the concert, the soprano got ill. Again, after many, many phone calls, Jan decided to engage Christina Högman. She is specialized in singing the Messiah, and is performing this piece many times every year. She has also worked together with the bas, Olle person many times.
The concert was a success. The newspaper reviews were very good. (Read the reviews below)
After the concert, there was a party at Scandic Gävle hotel with lots of good food in a relaxed atmosphere. Everyone was received with a nice glass of wine, and we celebrated the 20 years anniversary of the choir.
There was a buffet of lots of cold and warm dishes, and everyone was satisfied with the party.
The chairman of the board of WFC, Svein Egil Andresen, gave a spiritual speech talking about the history of WFC and its many concerts. The honourable member, Unni Bodin, was invited too which rejoice many of the singers. She participated in starting WFC in 1985. At that time the choir was huge. Unni and all other members have collected many memorable moments throughout the history of WFC.
WFC had a board meeting in Gävle too. Every year a representative of the singers is elected, and she was presented at the party. Her name is Ulla Ungermark, and she comes from Stockholm. Unfortunately she could not come to the party, but many of you know her from her participation at many concerts around the world.
At the anniversary party, 13 people who also participated at WFCs 1st. concert in 1985 were presented a bottle of Champagne. At that time the choir was called The Messiah choir- Vestfold.
The party lasted until the early morning. It is always fun to meet nice friends, and difficult to part. All singers left Gävle early the next morning.
Our opinion is that, in spite of its difficult start, we did a good concert, and the stay in Gävle was successful.
Finally we will wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. New projects are planned for 2006.

Review from Börje Larsson/ Arbeiderbladet

HALLELUJAH. World Festival Choir made the concert performing The Messiah to a huge experience that gave the audience Goosebumps.
Händle wrote the Messiah in 1741, and it was performed first time in Dublin in April 1742.
That time it was performed by 16 singers, included the soloist and a few musicians, violinists, trumpets and kettledrum.
The piece grew larger and was performed once a year in London.
The form of today it got in 1750. Since that is a tradition to do the performance as big and pompous as possible.
As I entered the Gevalia Concert Hall, World festival Choirs 200 members was situated at the back wall on the stage.
According to the program, the well known baroque conductor, Charles Farncomb was leading the concert. However he had got ill and could not come. Petras Bingelis, from Lithuania had, luckily agreed on stepping in for Mr. Farncomb on very short notice.
He did a very good job, but the orchestra and the conductor could have needed some more time rehearsing together.
The soloists sang with a warm hart and stile. The voice of Sean Claytons, the tenor, suites the barque music especially good, but even Hillary Summers impressed the audience with her vigorous alto which is more and more seldom heard these days.
However, what made this Messiah performance especially good was World Festival Choir, a huge choir who has done the Messiah many, many times.
The sound and the precision were fantastic, and the Hallelujah choir gave, most certainly the audience Goosebumps. On the loudest parts the sound was a bit unclear. Maybe the performance should have been in a Church?
My own opinion is that in some of solo parts the sound of the choir was too loud. Maybe a bit old fashioned, but still the most magnificent start of Advent I can think of.

Börje Larsson/ Arbeiderbladet

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