Director leaves on a high note

19:04, Dec 10 2012

The pleasant atmosphere of Scotlands Lounge at New Plymouth Girls' High School seemed most suitable to farewell Gabrielle Barr after 10 years as director of City Sounds Choir.

It was also a chance to welcome Sue Baxter as their new director. Her newly formed choir of young singers, The A Team, added two brackets of songs with clear words and tuneful harmony.

Gabrielle Barr has made a huge contribution to music in Taranaki, first at Opunake High School and more recently as director of the Stratford Mountain Singers and City Sounds Choir.

Through her Voice Studio, she has inspired many, many singers of all ages with valuable skills and knowledge for a lifetime of enjoyment. Dozens have contributed to the "hospice musicals" Grease and Wedding Singer and hundreds have been thrilled to sing in the massed choirs at the Rugby Park Tattoos.

City Sounds presented happy, pleasure-giving concerts several times every year and to entertain at civic functions when called upon. Their programmes provide good variety, with something for everybody, and yesterday's concert, also presented on Saturday night, measured up well.

A potpourri of numbers from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals was the choir's centrepiece of the concert and guest Sam Mitchell showed great potential as a stage performer in a couple of solos.

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For me, the choir sang their best in the bracket of spirituals, O Holy Night and the final song A Perfect Day. The combined choirs sounded great in Gabrielle's arrangement of Te Harinui, a New Zealand carol.

Brian Clark was his usual fount of knowledge as compere and sang in the choir too.

Elaine Schreiber and Liz Disney did their best on an old, tired grand piano, and Peter Galvin added some humour with a Pam Ayres poem.

Happy retirement to Gabrielle Barr and thank you for the music.

Taranaki Daily News