Following the blistering success of their debut concert at Holy Trinity, Beckenham last summer, FUNdamentally GOSPEL returned to the stunning church for this year’s sizzler of a show in aid of Community Music In Action on Saturday 2nd July. It marked the choir’s last concert under the leadership of Fiona Bolton and the venue was packed to the rafters in honour of the poignant performance.
Enjoying a comfortably cooler climate, the show opened with the lively gospel number How I Got Over featuring Juliette Hall, a relative newcomer to the choir and one of several singers set to perform their first solo with the choir. The enthusiastic audience were then invited to participate in a call-and-response number, No One Else by Smokie Norful, before being treated to a suite of a cappella songs from Africa displaying the ensemble’s luscious harmonies. The choir’s funky backing band of Ed Gray (keys), Sunil Chandy (bass) and Rod Rands-Webb (drums) then took to the fore in a rousing performance of He Lives In You from The Lion King, the only song to feature in both the choir’s first ever performance back in March 2010 and tonight’s concert. The beautiful ballad, Worth by Anthony Brown featuring FUNdamentally GOSPEL founding member Sarah Archard, and the Take That classic Never Forget brought the first half to a close.
The audience bolstered the funds raised for CMIA by feasting on drinks and cakes during the interval but it was clear their appetite had really been whetted for some more great music and the choir continued to entertain with their trademark uplifting mix of pop, soul, gospel and world music. Helen Lolljee, Becca Ford and Polly Powell delighted with a close harmony trio feature in the gospel swing number Operator by The Manhattan Transfer and Sarah Bolter, another founding member of the choir, brought a tear to the eye with her beautiful solo in Martha Munizzi’s ballad I Will Always, a long-standing favourite of the choir.
Roof-raising Joyful Joyful, You Can’t Stop The Beat and I Wanna Dance With Somebody brought the audience to their feet as the choir reached their climatic finale. An emotional tribute to Musical Director Fiona was made and an encore demanded before the audience, toes still tapping, made their way home, thoroughly entertained. A truly vibrant evening of music making had been enjoyed by all.
A total of £660 was raised for CMIA, sealing the success of the night. The money will be used to run music projects for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the London Borough of Bromley.