National Boys Choir, 2013 Christmas concert, Hamer Hall.?

National Boys Choir, 2013 Christmas concert, Hamer Hall. Photo: Joe Casamento/Casamento Photogra

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

National Boys Choir of Australia

Hamer Hall

December 21

Believing that you can never have too much of a good thing, the National Boys Choir of Australia mounted an all-embracing program for its end-of-year concert: paying homage to some classics, finding space for popular carols, allowing room for contemporary works, but eventually risking surfeit by piling too much into a night that should be celebratory rather than a collection of party pieces. Without much effort, the organisers could have cut their items back without doing disservice to the young people involved.

The choir is, in fact, a school where members move through degrees of training and experience; from Elementary status, through Junior, to Performing. In an ecumenical spirit, all three sections performed on Saturday, giving the younger singers some stage experience at its best in The Christmas Sock Rock from the first year set, the Juniors making a fair fist of David Lawrence's A Bush Carol. Both the large Performing and a men's choir worked through Mozart's Regina Coeli creditably, accompanied by an able chamber orchestra, guest soprano Janet Todd taking the solo line with determination.

John Rutter's fable Brother Heinrich's Christmas found veteran Grant Smith serving as an involved Narrator but the piece under-uses its choral forces. Based on In dulci jubilo, the ensemble's final straight reading of the great carol was a relief. But the post-interval sequence became a blur - Vivaldi, O Tannenbaum, the Sussex Carol and Britten's This Little Babe making their points from well-rehearsed singers and orchestra yet, like too many Christmas celebrations, over-seasoned.