I sang with the Newton Choral Society for a number of years – it was great fun. I now enjoy going to their concerts – although I don’t get to sing, I don’t have to schlep the risers afterwards! This concert was what I always called the “annual showpiece” – there’s a professional orchestra of a goodly size (20 or so) and the usual chorus of around 80 singers making that big wall of sound. The concert was very enjoyable – especially from the second row: I was told some of the soloist sections could not be heard easily from halfway back, but I didn’t have that issue!
The Vespers is a nice piece with a very difficult section for the soprano soloist. The chorus chose wisely when they picked the lovely Maria Ferrante to sing that part. When I listen to a soloist, I have a little mental check-list and I found her tone quality to be excellent – very warm and sure, and she was very solid in every other area. The chorus sounded a bit hesitant in this piece – the sound was a bit muffled here and there, probably caused by the fact that there were a few too many followers rather than leaders in certain parts of the piece – the voices were not entirely synchronized.
No such problem in the finale – Haydn’s Nicolai is a barn-burner: loud, fast, and relatively easy. The Newton Choral Society eats these for breakfast, and so they ended their season with a very satisfying piece that the crowd loved.