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Music from the heart and soul

Written By Anais Perry

Vocal Explosion Choir sing The Music of the Gypsies, St Clements Church, Hastings, March 22.

A community choir yes, but the passion, the power, and the energy in evidence on this evening proved that Vocal Explosion are a quality act indeed.

The audience (a full house no less - almost unheard of for a choir concert) certainly agreed, and by the end of what was indeed a magical evening, many were literally dancing in the aisles to the upbeat ‘Mini Sara’.

The programme included a mixture of traditional songs from places as diverse as Romania and Sephardic Spain - upbeat wedding songs and stirring laments, and pieces composed by the choir’s director Juliet Russell, including the exquisite ‘Asla’, which left the spine tingling and the soul wanting more. Fortunately, ‘Asla’ was also the encore piece.

The choir comprised around 40 singers from Hastings and Rye, all animated, obviously in their element, and the harmonies tight.

Juliet Russell is deserving of a special mention - a supremely talented individual, and perhaps one of Hastings’ best kept secrets. She is not only a composer and musical director capable of encouraging a diverse group of individuals to step into their power in a stunning way, but a singer in possession of a voice with such a haunting quality that she had the audience completely spellbound during several solos. 

Also worth a mention were the instrumentalists (violin, accordion, guitar, bass guitar, and percussion), who really drove the rhythms forward, and took the performance to another level.

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