By Isabella Fraser
Aw Blacks is one of several Sing in the City choirs with members from a range of backgrounds and ages. Accompanied by a 6 piece band, the choir is led by MD and creator Kirsty Baird, a human dynamo who brings a great deal of energy to the evening, helping the 44-strong choir power through a range of modern classics as well as some original pieces.
Playing to a packed house, Baird not only leads the choir while playing keyboards, but she has a great line in banter, engaging with the crowd, encouraging some audience participation. The choir clearly has a strong support in the audience from family and friends, judging by the heckled responses, but the mood is fun and lighthearted, especially when Baird’s own mother joins in.
A mega mix of songs beginning with a classical harmony, fills the theatre with a lilting sound that the enthusiastic audience moves along with, clapping and cheering at recognized tunes. Choreography from Amy Drummond brings additional humour and energy to the songs, while allowing for individuality in movement: the choir looks like they are having the time of their lives, which is then reflected in the audience response.
Unfortunately at times, the volume of the band drowns the voices in the choir out, which is disappointing as the choir has a lovely group sound. While the band plays well with a lovely acoustic guitar sound and feisty violin playing, the most successful part of the night is when the choir sings acapella, allowing the group to demonstrate the beauty and power in their voices simply and clearly.
By the end of the night the audience is dancing in the aisles and singing with the choir, eventually giving them two standing ovations.
Sing in the City: Aw Blacks was reviewed on Friday July 1 @ 7.30 pm, at the Festival Theatre. Sing in the City is at the Usher Hall on November 25.