Who cares about the weather, as long as we’re together! On a cold rainy night in Sydney, the Choir of St James’ Church King Street invited Aria-award winning a capella vocal group The Idea of North to lead an evening of love, bosanova, barbershop and jazz.
Humour, incredible musicianship and innovative choices
Just off the plane from Tokyo, The Idea of North lost no time in warming up the audience with their sense of humour, incredible musicianship and innovative choices. With an array of romantic songs of love, loss and yearning, the smooth quartet wooed with charismatic solos and an ensemble blend that can only be described as in words fit for chocolate and velvet. We sat back in our church pews for ‘stolen kisses’ and ‘moonlight’ and ‘dreams’ and ‘sunshine.’
Beginning with Charlie Chaplin’s song ‘Smile’, arranged by James Morrison, Sally Cameron’s beautiful soft soprano lines drifted into the echelons of this historic Greenway church, embracing those in the choir loft above and the Choir of St James’ seated in the front pews.
A bluesy ‘Keep My Supper Warm’ written by bass Andrew Piper for high school students hustled the choo-choo train into the church. This was followed by tenor Nick Begbie’s hilarious but moving love song dedication to a random audience member in the second row in ‘I will always love you’ … Martine! (A classy lady who offered her right hand gracefully to be kissed at the end!)
Idea of North Musical Director alto Naomi Crellin created a range of dedicated love songs – to children, lovers lost and found, soul mates past and present. We heard every line of every song so clearly – as in the Hoagy Carmichael jazz standard:
‘It’s not your conversation
That brings the sensation
It’s just the nearness of you’.
A tapestry of vocal shades… the audience in raptures
When the Choir of St James’ joined Idea of North, the result was a tapestry of vocal shades, particularly in the moving and stunning song ‘Rachel’, written and arranged by Trish Delaney-Brown.
‘Rachel, can you hear me calling? Spring’s here, are you near?’
This soft emotionally powerful a capella tune had the audience in raptures. It is no surprise that this won the group a 2005 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Jazz Song. Swoon!
Here was the Choir of St James’, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones, as we rarely see them – having fun in a baroque-free zone. Stevie Wonder, the Beatles and Randy Newman featured in medleys and playful moods. We went on a ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ and be bopped our way through ‘Blackbird’.
Owen Elsley’s stunning solo in ‘Sunshine on a Cloudy Day’ and ‘My Girl’ revealed the rich and gorgeous talent of this fine young singer and composer.
As the Irish ballad ‘In This Heart’ surrounded the audience for the final number, we wrapped our scarves and went out into the cold night humming to ourselves, the cockles of our hearts warmed by love and the sound of the human voice.
The Idea of North, with the Choir of St James’ | Songs of Love | Saturday 20 June 5pm | St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney