Review: An Evening with the Stratford East Singers

Stratford East Singers performed a second night on Saturday, January 30, after selling out on the 31

Stratford East Singers performed a second night on Saturday, January 30, after selling out on the 31st. Picture: Robert Day - Credit: Archant

Just one Uptown Funk into this concert and the audience is in foot-tapping thrall.

An Evening with the Stratford East Singers – which actually became two nights after selling out last weekend – is a lot more than just a night of feel-good entertainment. We also embark on what feels like a personal journey in the Theatre Royal, as heartfelt and sometimes goose-bump-inducing performances are interspersed by thoughtful introductions.

Several members take the mic as we are gently rocked between African folk to Emilie Sandé and on to a humorous and melodic reggae mix. In a lump-in-throat moment one singer pays tribute to a former member who passed away last year, before the group cascades into Stand By Me, a stunning a capella rendition of the Ben E.King hit.

A pure non-instrumental section is also in store, with finalists from BBC2’s The Naked Choir rocking a Blues version of Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) and Abba’s Take A Chance, with a guest appearance by a capella group Gospel Essence.

Choirmaster Byron Gold discreetly flits between conducting and singing, taking a star turn with the group. At the end when the whole choir forms for his own composition I Am – leaving the audience refreshed, a spring in their step and a song (or several) in their soul.


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