Northern Lights have developed a reputation for impeccable harmonies which have led them to numerous successes as they enter their fourth year. The choir’s recent work includes the release of two music videos, recording an EP and a week-long sell out show at the Edinburgh Fringe whilst also having gained the accolade of North Regional Champions at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) 2017. With the choir riding on the success of their maiden Gala performance in January, this sell-out crowd were hungry to see what Northern Lights had in store for them on this chilly winter evening.
The intimate setting of the concert room in Divinity House, coupled with the excellent staging set the mood perfectly for the evening. Opening the night, led by Oscar Lingard, the choir began with their rendition of A Dustland Fairytale. The song was a strong opener, with faultless harmonies and inventive choreography, both of which would feature highly throughout the evening.
This was followed by a performance of Cake by the Ocean featuring Maddy Wattles leading vocals and complimented by the outstanding Voice Percussion from Yuki Matsumoto (known as Yukebox). Following this, the choir continued to demonstrate their talent and diversity by performing the pieces Latch, led by Lucy Booth and I heard through the grape vine, led by Jeff Gougis.
Yuki now took to the stage alone, demonstrating his excellent Freestyle Vocal Percussive abilities. With varied and sudden changes in tempo and dynamic, the audience were kept on their toes during this impressive performance.
The choir then re-joined, with a performance of Dancing in the Dark led by Will Guy followed by a medley of songs by Rihanna featuring again Jeff Gougis and Rachel Dungate. These pieces demonstrated the choirs’ awareness of one another, a result of the friendly nature exuded by the choir and the hard work the group puts into its pieces.
The concert then took on a more festive note, with performances of Mary Did You Know and Baby It’s Cold Outside, the duet being led by Bethany Wright and Matt Clark. The onstage chemistry between these two performers was a pleasure to watch, drawing the audience into the story of the piece and being complimented by another strong performance by the chorus. The choir then performed Merry Xmas Everyone, with each member of the ensemble taking turn to lead this well-known Christmas classic. The song exhibited each member’s own strong singing ability and showed the talent present within the group, the piece also being interlaced with improvised choreography by each member.
The final number as the choir’s rendition of Living on a Prayer/You Give Love a Bad Name. This powerful performance was executed superbly with strong choreography that connected with the audience and left them on their feet applauding and hungry for more. Overall, it was felt the pacing of the concert was a touch fast; the pieces could have been broken up with more dialogue from the various performers which would have allowed the audience to better get to know this group. A programme being made available to the audience could also have helped provide further reading about the ensemble.
The concert was most enjoyable; the performances were well polished and executed impeccably with the choir demonstrating a great awareness of each other, an impressive feat in the ten weeks the choir has had to integrate the new performers into their group. Special credit should be paid to the members of the choir who arranged any of the evenings pieces. With only a couple of instances where the harmonies took a moment to settle, this performance should be considered a great success for the renowned group which is going on to perform in its second Gala show as part of the Durham Vocal Festival in February.