Review: Hampshire Police MVC concert in Wickham

A significant feature amongst the covid-related cancellations in the St Nicholas 2020 celebrations was a concert performance by the renowned Hampshire Police Male Voice Choir. How wonderful it was that three years later, and almost exactly to the day, the doors of the church were opened and an enthusiastic audience filled the nave to enjoy the choir perform a wide range of music both sacred and secular, classical and modern.

The concert opened, most appropriately in coronation week, with Coronation Fanfare, a work composed by Geoff Porter, the choir musical director, which led into the audience joining in a whole-hearted National Anthem (sung with care to be up to date).

We were particularly pleased that John Mansfield, a choir member who also finds time to play the organ for the majority of our services, was able to take on both roles, hastening up and down the nave and up to the organ loft. In the first half of the concert we were treated to what seemed to be an exercise in advanced organ skills., and after the interval the mood changed to a Hornpipe Humoresque in which the skill lay in deliberately mistaken notes.

The choir sang fluently and with outstanding clarity. With no reference to music scores they followed closely the changes of mood and dynamics signalled by their director which brought the music to life. To single out one particularly stirring moment is invidious, but it was a joy to listen to the choir backing Sian Bibbi-Hsia singing Mozart’s Laudate Dominum.

The programme closed with a lovely rendering of An American Trilogy which included a fine baritone solo from the ranks of the choir. An encore was demanded, and the audience needed little encouragement from Geoff Porter to join in hearty clapping as the choir sang the Radzetsky March.


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