Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose was composed in 2013 by Alexander L’Estrange in celebration of King Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose lost in The Solent in 1545, raised in 1981, and now in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
There is no doubt children’s voices add something very special to any choral work.
Ahoy! is cleverly composed with adult and children’s choirs beautifully blended as they illustrate the Mary Rose story with well-known folksongs, Elizabethan songs and sea shanties.
The choir and especially the children sang lustily and they will remember their performance all their lives.
It is impossible to review it all, but special mention should be made of Haul Away, bursting with energy, and the beautifully-sung Greensleeves.
All the singers went to town with The Drunken Sailor! and Full Fathom Five, and both soprano soloist Mary Snuggs, and the folk song O waly, waly, were excellent.
The performers were accompanied by piano, drums, accordion, violin and double bass which added so much to the performance.
The evening ended with a hornpipe and the shanty Up she rises sung by all with great enthusiasm!
The packed audience did not get away lightly as we were all worked hard in the warm-up.
But there was no risk of letting the side down as it was very clear everyone had a great time from start to finish.
The whole evening was ably directed by conductor Michael Servant who has a charming way with choirs and a great sense of humour and obviously enjoyed adding children to this programme.
So thank you Froxfield Choir, and thank you children and all the performers for an unforgettable evening.