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Dalston male voice choir at St Aidan’s church, Warwick Road Carlisle

Sunday 19th March 2023

This was a long-overdue return-visit to St Aidan’s by the gentlemen of the choir, their first being in 2019.  In the intervening time they have continued to develop their repertoire under the conductorship of Michael Deakin, who also arranges and is himself an accomplished soloist. The opener was their first public performance of the folk song Cushy Butterfield. As mellow tones filled the church, we knew we were in for an enjoyable afternoon’s concert. There really was something for every taste, from the sacred (Isaac Watts’ ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’) and the spiritual (‘Give me that ol’ time religion’) to the secular (‘The Rose’ – Bette Midler) and the stage (‘The Drinking song’ from the Student Prince). Dynamics and phrasing were hair-raisingly good in the Rose, and singing without music copies in front of them much of the time seemed to enhance this. A personal favourite was ‘Slow train’ (Flanders and Swan), complete with plaintive train whistle at the end. Another was ‘Speed Your Journey’, executed with skill, enthusiasm plus some nimble piano accompaniment by Lorraine Nash. Guest soloist was Carlisle-born Jonathan Hill, Baritone, currently studying for a master’s degree in singing and opera at the Royal Northern College of Music. His rendition of three Quilter Shakespeare Songs was effortless and accomplished, while Billy’s Farewell, from Billy Budd was movingly and sensitively interpreted. More than one listener commented that Jonathan’s voice is reminiscent of the great Sir Thomas Allen. All credit to Dalston Male Voice choir for providing a platform for local talent.


Jean Hill