Cabaret Comes to Stamford Bridge 7th May 2018
On one of the warmest early May Bank Holidays on record the Stamford Bridge Singers, together with the wonderful Stamford Bridge Dance Band brought a sense of Cabaret to the Village hall with more than a hint of Latin American tango. The Music Director Stuart Nettleship had chosen an eclectic range of cabaret music which entertained the large, appreciative and increasingly excitable crowd. The audience were taken on a musical journey which included eying up young ladies in Ipanema beach in Rio, dancing a tango in Buenos Aires, listening to a folk song in Portugal, thinking calm thoughts at the Alhambra Palace in Spain, taking a trip up the Swanee River and finally ending in the home of 80s Pop music : Sweden.
The choir showed their ability to swing to different rhythms and in this they were very ably helped by the wonderful band, so ably led by Robert Webb. All members contributed to make a very warm and bright sound, but special mention should be made of Ed Sparrow, the Percussionist, who almost single-handedly kept the choir in time. The Jealousy Tango played by the band alone was in itself a show stopper, with familiar tango rhythms expertly played. The band also showed a subtle side as they accompanied Charlotte Phillips in the hauntingly beautiful “Send in the Clowns”. Jonathan Sage’s lyrical clarinet playing accompanied the warm, yet slightly vulnerable singing. This was a highlight in an evening of many highlights. Another was provided by John Mackenzie with two evocative Spanish guitar pieces. Thanks to the heat of the hall, and to the beauty of his playing one could almost picture the magnificent Alhambra Palace.
The choir has been working on the Gershwin medley for some time, but it was a great thrill to hear these well-known tunes with a live backing band. Paul Tower and Katie Morton were the very talented soloists who added much character and passion to their roles during the medley. Katie also starred in Leonard Bernstein’s “Easily Assimilated” and then showed her versatility in the modern song “Chasing Cars”, which provided the choir with possibly its greatest challenge in terms of music.
The George Shearing “Songs and Sonnets” setting words by William Shakespeare to jazz rhythms provided another musical challenge. The choir were sympathetically accompanied by Helen Jones on keyboard and Laura Fox on double bass and there was great variety in the seven different sections.
As befits any good cabaret there was food and drink. This being Stamford Bridge as well as wine there was Black Sheep beer and the food was Fish and Chips, with homemade cakes as a dessert. The choir members turned waiters in the intervals and this contributed to the relaxed cabaret atmosphere.
The evening finished with three ABBA songs, which included the poignant and very app
“Thank you for the Music”
One enthusiastic audience member summed up the evening:
“Sun, Fish and Chips and Gershwin – it does not get better than this"