The Usher Hall has a big stage, and it certainly needed it for the hundred plus members of the Forth Valley Chorus as the 5 times UK Champions under the direction of David Sangster gave everyone another evening of vocal harmonies.
What does a hundred plus voices singing sound like? Well, unless you go and catch one of their shows then there really is no easy answer to that except “Amazing”.
This show featured a lot of music covering a lot of styles both modern and not so modern. A few songs that stuck in my mind from the show include Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, Beauty and The Beast, River of Dreams and Wild Mountainside.
In between costume changes for the chorus, there was a little bit of audience fun as director David Sangster had the audience eventually singing a six part arrangement of “Mairi’s Wedding”. A bit of light-hearted fun maybe, but a tiny insight into just how difficult and complex the harmonies and arrangement of over a hundred can be and it a tribute to everyone in the chorus that they make it look and sound so easy.
This show also featured the talents of some local dancers with choreography by Kirsty Hamilton. While it is great to add a little twist to the norm and also give some young talent a chance to be on a big stage in front of a pretty packed Usher Hall, I do ask myself how much their inclusion brought to the event as, like many other people there, I would have been happy with just the singers as at times I found the dancers and the sound of their steps on stage a little distracting from the wonderful vocals of the chorus itself. Maybe it would all work better with the chorus doing a Jazz themed show or stage songs show.
The thing about the Forth Valley Chorus (apart from sheer size) is that they make complex harmonies sound so simple on stage...it’s easy to hear why they keep winning competitions at national level. They also in David Sangster have a very enthusiastic and innovative director.
If you want to find out a little bit more about everyone visit them at
Review by Tom King & Lisa Sibbald