By the end of the InChorus ‘Beat the Winter Blues’ concert in Peebles on Saturday night, nobody had the right to have even a trace of the miseries. What a night it was. One comment received was “Best ever InChorus concert!”.

It was certainly a night full of entertainment, supplied by InChorus and their guests, for an audience of well over 500 people.

The choir’s programme included songs by Fun, Queen, John Lennon. Led Zeppelin, Snow Patrol, Enya, The Pointer Sisters, Christopher Tin and a number from the film ‘Sister Act’. Some pieces were augmented by young pupils from the Fiona Henderson School of Dance who danced exuberantly in the aisles.

Throughout the show, links were provided by Musical Director, Aly Skidmore, who entertained us with amusing facts. For evermore we will remember the two-faced Janus, the god after whom January is named.

As always, the choir gave the vibrant and high quality performance we have come to expect from InChorus. The newer additions to their repertoire seemed to impress the audience particularly, with cheers and shouts of appreciation coming from all corners.

InChorus beat the winter blues January 2017Their interpretation of Queen’s and David Bowie’s ‘Under Pressure’ was excellent, made the more noteworthy by the bass section’s removal of shirts and ties to reveal teeshirts sporting the legend ‘It’s all about the bass!’. If you listen to the song you will understand what the boys mean.

Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’ was another winner with the fun spirit of the song being assisted by the dancers and, indeed, the audience.

The choir sang a beautiful version of Paul Simon’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ arranged by Aly Skidmore, which made the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Aly commented, “We know we have it right when, at the end of the song, there is a moment’s delay before the applause. That’s what happened here, which is gratifying when you consider how important the original version is to so many people.”

Providing contrast from the sound of the big choir were two wonderful acts.InChorus beat the winter blues January 2017

The ‘Stardust Musical Theatre Group’ presented two numbers. The Juniors performed ‘Maybe’ from the musical ‘Annie’ and the Intermediate group, ‘Jazz Hands’ from the musical ‘The Grunch’. The kids’ enthusiasm and energy was a tonic for everyone watching.

The very talented Blues singer, Sam Mundy, performed C W Stoneking’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’, Skip James’ ‘Hard Time Killing Blues’, Robert Johnson’s ‘Come On In My Kitchen’, and the hugely popular ‘Who Knew’ from his own EP. For any Blues fan this was a proper treat, as, in addition to being a great vocalist, Sam is no mean guitarist.

However, the last word on performance must go to InChorus. The songs which invoked most audience comment were the 1950s set. The tenors’ rendition of ‘Officer Krupke’ from West Side Story, which included a flawless performance by lead soloist, Alan Gray, was hilarious. One lady said, “I would like to see InChorus taking on more standards from the musicals. They are so good at them.”

On the show production, particular mention must go to Andy Wright of the Stardust Musical Theatre Company, who, with the use of theatrical lights, transformed the Old Parish Church into a dazzling concert hall. The effect was stunning. Aly Skidmore said, “The church is a beautiful building with wonderful acoustics and architecture. It is also the only venue large enough in the area to house our audiences, and has been ‘home’ to InChorus for many years. This time we wanted to really explore the performance potential the church has to offer. Andy’s lighting helped us all to realise what a staggeringly good events space we have right here on our doorstep.”

She continued, “This concert was all about showing our local audience the significant talent that exists in Peeblesshire. Members of the public and local businesses are so supportive of us, and we wanted to show them that their faith is not misplaced.”.

We have to say the job was done.