As a new society only formed this academic year, this was Footnotes second ever society concert. They presented ‘A Cappella Through the Ages’ with pieces ranging from Bach to The Beatles to Alt-J, with Footnotes adapting their vocal style and expression to each new genre they were tackling. It was also lovely to see so many fantastic soloists and small groups from the choir throughout the concert.

Footnotes began the concert with If Ye Love Me by Tallis, which was a beautiful opening piece and showed off the choir’s blend and musicianship as a whole from the very start. It was wonderful to see Footnotes perform so many classical works that would not usually be performed by an a cappella choir; the next number, Bach’s Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude, was a great example of this. This well-known piece is usually performed instrumentally, so the choir split into many different parts to cover all the accompaniment parts. The relentless triplet accompaniment was particularly impressive. We then heard Mozart’s Lacrimosa in which the soprano section were particularly powerful. Footnotes worked together really well in this number using phrasing and dynamics to their advantage, unison was precise on each short note which created effective silences and made for an excellent performance.

Next, we heard an all-female quartet from the choir performing Mr Sandman by The Chordettes. This change of genre was adapted to well by all four members of the group; although the harmonies were not as tight as they could have been, their performance was thoroughly enjoyed by audience and performers alike. Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley, arranged by the Pentatonix, was performed next by five members from the choir. This was an effective and moving performance, with really tight harmonies although the tune, in such a low register, could have sometimes been more prominent in the texture. The full choir then returned to perform one last piece before the interval, Somewhere by Bernstein arranged by Robert Edgerton. The whole choir performed this song really well; it was a shame that the final chord didn’t quite settle in tune but it still left the audience eager to return for the second half of the concert.

After the interval, the pieces were more modern and started to feature many soloists from the choir. Come Together by The Beatles was performed very well by soloist Will Bloor, who also had excellent sound projection so he could easily be heard over the choir. Footnotes also started to add in some percussive elements to this piece, such as clicking, as they did with many pieces after the interval. The choir then became much more animated and excited as they sung, from memory, I Want You Back by The Jackson 5 arranged by Ed Rex. Although this excitement meant that they were occasionally too loud for soloist Tara Munnelly, Tara delivered a good performance and it was refreshing to see the choir clearly in their element. Footnotes then sang Josh Carter’s arrangement of Come on Eileen. All the voice parts interacted really well in this number, and the use of many different vowel sounds also added a new dimension to this piece.

Footnotes worked together really well in this number using phrasing and dynamics to their advantage, unison was precise on each short note which created effective silences and made for an excellent performance.

We then heard TLC’s No Scrubs with all female voice parts. Soloists Lydia Campbell and Lydia Rae Stephenson blended extremely well with each other, although again there could have been more awareness from other accompaniment parts of balance. There was also some very impressive beatboxing in this number. The full choir then performed Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap arranged by Brian Hayes. This was a more emotional performance and again showcased the wonderful sound of the full choir, with an effective use of silences. We then returned to the Classical genre and heard O Salutaris Hostia by Erika Esenvalds. The two soloists Emma Burke and Sophie Reed projected well over the choir and gave a very convincing performance. Although some of the thirds between the soloists were not quite in tune, the overall effect was of a beautiful, atmospheric performance. Next, Will Bloor soloed in Breezeblocks by Alt-J arranged by the choir’s own Megan Cunnington. This was another great performance by Will Bloor, with beatboxing adding an extra element again.

The overall energy of the choir throughout the concert and the impressive intonation led to a thoroughly enjoyable performance from start to finish. I can’t wait to see what Footnotes produces in the future.

Upcoming Concerts

Music Durham Cathedral Concert, Saturday 8th June, 7:30 pm, Durham Cathedral