Friday, 07 August 2020


“Autumn Tones” - an engaging afternoon of good music and good company

The music performed at the Mercury Bay Community Choir’s “Autumn Tones” concert in the Whitianga Town Hall last Sunday was as varied as the weather on the day. The large audience was treated to a lovely afternoon of music with an eclectic mix of genres performed by the choir and augmented by some wonderful numbers by guest performers, Mercury Bay Area School students Sarah Morcom and Gemma Louden, and individual members of the choir.

The choir, directed by guest conductor Carolyn Medland, opened the afternoon with a rousing American spiritual, “I’m Gonna Sing,” which they followed with a soulful rendition of “What a Wonderful World,” which made the audience a little sentimental and nostalgic. The choir’s last song in the set, “Cicut Cervus,” provided a total style change which evoked the peace and contemplation of an old-world monastery.

Sarah Morcom then took the stage and performed her own original song, “The Story of Us,” and followed on with a cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” She acoustically performed these numbers as if she was in a club, entertaining, with a high level of professionalism and totally engaging the audience. 

The Mercury Bay Community Choir Small Ensemble followed Sarah and treated the audience to some lovely arrangements, starting with a rendition of “He’s Gone Away,” an early American Appalachian Mountains folk song about separation. The ensemble then performed a light and airy Japanese poem, “Hisakata No.” The final number of the set was “And So It Goes,” a lesser known but beautifully nostalgic song by Billy Joel which speaks of heart break and risk. 
The second guest performer, Gemma Louden, followed the ensemble and wowed the audience with her sultry voice performing “Since You” by Ethan de Rose and then her own original creation, “Best Rest.”

Changing styles again, the full choir returned and finished the first half of the concert with a Harry Belafonte party number called “Turn the World Around.”  It was an excellent prelude to the break.

The Mercury Bay Community Choir Small Ensemble opened up the second half of the afternoon with a modern Christmas song called “Mary Did You Know” and finished the set with “Blessing,” a beautiful benediction written by renowned New Zealand composer, David Hamilton. Blessing was first performed by the Auckland Choral for the funeral of a long-standing member. It was a simple but stunning piece.

Next, the audience were treated to some Brahms and Chopin, brilliantly performed by the choir’s piano accompanist, Elizabeth Nicholls, and a special set of songs by Mercury Bay Community Choir alto, Svenja Thornber, and her partner, Graeme, on guitar.

The full choir then returned to the stage, ending the afternoon with some lively and fun pop tunes that the audience recognised and fully enjoyed - “Rhythm of the Rain,” the Hollies’ “He Ain’t Heavy” and “Viva La Vida” by Cold Play. 

After the choir’s final number, “Happy We,” the audience were treated to another legendary Mercury Bay Community Choir afternoon tea. 

In all, the concert was an engaging afternoon of good music and good company.

Pictured: The Mercury Bay Community Choir during their “Autumn Tones” concert in the Whitianga Town Hall last Sunday.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.