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The three piece ensemble Blast from the Past presented a show of seasonal music, plays and drama when they closed their latest nationwide tour at Lichfield Guildhall.
The group led by narrator, singer, guitarist, accordionist and mando-cellist Chris Green, with help from Sophie Matthews on flute, recorder, bagpipes and baroque oboe, and Stephanie West on vocals, harp and violin.
Their versions of some of the best-loved Christmas songs and carols were well received, and even allowed for some singing from the audience. With a stripped back instrumental backing, the pure, clear and precise harmony singing provided by the trio was well suited to the backdrop of the Guildhall, while the Chaucer play and story-telling about the court of King Arthur by Chris Green was well told and kept the audience spell-bound.
The first set was started by an acappella song, but it really got into its stride during The Sussex Carol with the mandocello providing attractive counterpoint to the harp and flutes, but it was in the lesser known songs that the group had collected that their strengths shone the brightest.
Time To Remember The Poor was a reflective song about the true meaning of Christmas, before Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day was a far more joyous proposition. Jolly Wassail was a toe-tapping tune featuring some fine singing, while set closer Under the Miseltoe was a Victorian Music Hall number, and the of kilter time signature showed the group’s musical knowledge.
The second half was started off with Chaucher’s tale Chanticleer and Pentiloe about a fox and a cockerel and vanity, then Stephanie West was given a solo spot with captivating harp and vocals used to good effect during I Saw Three Ships come Sailing By, while the old favourite The Holly and the Ivy was dusted down with an arrangement that featured an intelligent musical and vocal design.
The concert was closed with audience participation during both O Little Town of Bethlehem and Come All Ye Faithful. An obligatory encore was provided with the fast number of the evening, Ding Dong Merrily on High.
This was Lichfield Arts’ last concert for 2014 and was a fine way of bringing in yuletide cheer.
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