Music Review


Home Reviewers





Continental Airlines


Tower Festival 2009 presents






Conductor: Ann Atkinson

Sept 12, 09








A review by Marion Drew for EXTRA! EXTRA!


The Fron male voice choir, formed in 1947, was in fine voice on this evening. It’s easy to see why they are so renowned and why over their 62 years of performance they have won the Male Voice Choir competitions on no fewer than three occasions. With an average age of 60 years, and the youngest member at just 18, they sang a very wide ranging programme under the able baton of their feisty conductor Ann Atkinson who has worked with them for the last 5 years. There was something to please everyone, and we had a taste of everything from English favourites such as The Rose, to the very powerful American abolitionist song the Battle Hymn of the Republic to a gorgeous Welsh lullaby apparently sung to Edward 1st by his Welsh nanny, during which in that huge venue you could have heard a pin drop. In my view, this choir was at the heart of the evening, there is something deeply stirring about these voices, and I was a little disappointed that at times they were somewhat drowned out by the other performers and I wished I could have been treated to more of them in the programme.

However, joining them on stage against the magnificent backdrop of the Tower of London was the very popular soprano Lesley Garrett (CBE). She sang a range of works from the aria from Gianni Schicchi O mio babbino caro (Oh my beloved father) to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Some Enchanted Evening. Her change of ‘frocks’ as Lesley called them, were suitably sumptuous and very warmly received by the audience, admirably befitting both her singing and the occasion.
She and the choir performed together such works as You’ll Never Walk Alone (from Carousel) and Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables) and the rousing  When The Saints Go Marching In, as well as performing solo pieces, but they were not alone on stage.

Accompanying Lesley and the choir was the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble. They are a quintet of very experienced players who however, compared to the choir with whom they have teamed up before, are mere toddlers (they were formed in 1980). Under the direction of their leader, trumpeter Simon Lenton, who also adapted the opera pieces for brass and keyboards, they performed two solo spots, one of which was Irving Berlin’s ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz, handling the intricately syncopated passages in this beautiful piece with great aplomb.

All in all, seated beneath the imposing tower of one of London’s most iconic landmarks and with the sights and sounds of London’s nightscape in the background, this was a most unusually entertaining evening, and it is to be hoped that the festival, now in its fourth year, will be with us for many more.



The Tower of London, EC3N 4AB
11th to 20th September 2009
Tickets on sale to person callers at:
Group Ticket Office
Tower of London
Tower Hill
London EC3N 4AB

10.00am - 4.00pm daily

Branches of HMV as follows
London - 150 Oxford St, 360 Oxford St, Trocadero, Covent Garden, Hammersmith, Islington, Westfield Shopping Centre, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Croydon
Birmingham - High St
Edinburgh - Princes St
Aberdeen - Union St

Tickets available by credit card from the following agents:
Ticketmaster 0844 847 2519
See Tickets 0871 230 1080
Ticketline 0844 8889991
Keith Prowse (Seatem) 0844 2090335

WOMAD 0845 146 1735

For official hospitality packages, please call
AOK Events 020 8222 8420

The festival is an open air event and will go ahead regardless of bad weather.






Copyright © EXTRA! EXTRA All rights reserved






Home Reviewers