Music Bearsden Choir St John’s Renfield Church, Glasgow Keith Bruce four stars

IT is telling of the development of Bearsden Choir that chorus director Andrew Nunn is relaxed about repeating repertoire, like the two works in this programme, Vivaldi’s Gloria and the Faure Requiem. Just as significantly, the one new work it has commissioned, Love Lives Beyond the Tomb, by choir alumnus George Swann, will have an all-important second performance at the next concert in May.

Revisiting these pieces makes sense because the choir itself is constantly growing under Nunn, with stalwarts joined by new recruits - many, although by no means all, rather younger than the membership of previous years. That is now as true of the male voices as of the women in the chorus.

With a full house of almost 500 in the audience seats, the choir itself is a large outfit approaching 150 members, stretching back up the chancel steps for ten rows. When the basses made their entry in the second movement of the Vivaldi, their sound took a little adjusting to, not because of any hesitancy of their part, because they were rather a long way back.

With organist Andrew Forbes providing the accompaniment from alongside them, the ensemble sound of the men was consistent and secure, and the tenors - a very impressive 25 in number - came into their own in the Faure where the section often leads off the choral sections.

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Perhaps, though, the fact that the same is true of the more numerous women, and especially the sopranos, is even more remarkable. For an amateur choir, their evenness of tone, even at higher pitch, must be the result of application in section-work at rehearsals.

Of the evening’s soloists, only mezzo Caitlin Mackenzie was the finished article, but then she has the advantage of a young lifetime’s training with the National Youth Choir of Scotland, from the Isle of Lewis area choir to the recently constituted professional-standard Chamber Choir, with some of the most prestigious concerts of the senior choir’s history on her resume. Her rounded tone, immaculate diction and attention to Nunn’s direction spoke of that experience.

The younger voices of soprano Julia Callander and baritone Caspian Plummer showed great promise, Callander clearly more relaxed on the Pie Jesu of the Faure, while her Vivaldi might have been crisper. Plummer, who is just 20, has a fine range but not yet the vocal muscle, and his enunciation was more Italianate opera than church Latin at times.

The important thing is that Bearsden is giving those young people the opportunity to perform important works in a full concert context, complementing the development of the choir itself.