LEVENS Choir presented a varied summer soiree in an informal setting with the audience seated around tables, writes ROBERT TALBOT. The Flora and Fauna titled concert - at Kendal Town Hall - opened with Bennet’s well known All Creatures Now Are Merry Minded, and instantly the choir displayed a confidence with a solid sound. Madrigals are not normally performed with such large forces, but when four different smaller groupings each performed popular numbers from the madrigal repertoire, including Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers, The Silver Swan, and Sweet Suffolk Owl, a more authentic sound resulted.

No choral presentation these days seems to be complete without Eric Whitaker, Rutter and Bob Chilcott. The former on this occasion by six short and humorous songs with the collective title Animal Crackers, and the totally contrasting, but much more recognisable style, Seal Lullaby. The latter composer’s contribution being The Hare and the Tortoise. It was during Rutter’s The Owl and the Pussycat that I became aware of some soprano voices being enhanced by the PA microphone, so I can’t comment on the balance.

The choral items were complemented by Ken Forster performing two of the Czech composer Janacek's piano pieces sensitively.

Levens Choir’s female folk music quartet’s delightful offerings ended with audience participation accompanied by Ian Jones on his concertina.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Old Gumbie Cat from Cats contains some jazzy moments effectively sung. The sonorous bass line was particularly noticeable in A Farewell by Michael England.

The evening’s excellent music came to a conclusion with Finzi’s Clear and Gentle Stream, so representative of that golden era of English music, and finally a lively piece by the American composer Matthew Harris.

One of the visiting Baroque orchestra players for the Pro Nobis concert in mid-June commented to me about how impressed she was about the wealth of music making locally. I didn’t have time to mention all of the local choirs, choral societies, orchestras or bands, but this latest concert proved once again precisely the rich and diverse nature of musical offering in this small part of the world.

I’ve mentioned before about Levens Choir's youth policy, and again their contribution to the whole gives the choir a fresh sound in the upper voices. Conductor Ian Jones introduced the items in a light-hearted but informative manner.