Performance reviews


Review of the Mozart Requiem performance at Great Yarmouth Minster


Reviews of the Verdi Requiem performance at Great Yarmouth Minster

Letter printed in Eastern Daily Press

Dear Sir,

Both my husband and I have lived in London as musicians for the best part of 50 years and we can honestly say the performance of Verdi's Requiem in Great Yarmouth Minster which we attended on Saturday was one of the best and most exciting performances we have heard in many years.  The Verdi Requiem is a stunning and musically demanding work and the outstanding choir produced the most superb contrasts following the directions of the composer in every detail.  
The performance was absolutely thrilling with every nuance carefully shaped by conductor Vetta Wise, with the Verdi Voices/Pakefield Singers Chorus trained to perfection.  The professional Kingfisher Sinfonia, led by Beth Spendlove, followed Vetta's every move with accomplished insight, and the four soloists added the icing on the cake with their inspired virtuosity.  Soprano Mardi Byers, Mezzo soprano Cheri Rose Katz, tenor Jeff Stewart and baritone George Stevens all have international careers and were absolutely wonderful.  The voices of this quartet resounded throughout this most beautiful Minster, a real gem in East Anglia.

It was not at all surprising that the audience rose to their feet as one at the end of the performance, calling the artists back time and again to acknowledge their applause.  This once in a lifetime event will remain in the memories of the performers and audience alike for many years to come.

We wish the Pakefield Singers, their musical community friends and the Kingfisher Sinfonia all good wishes for future collaborations.

Dr. June Keyte MBE ARAM FRSA Churchill Fellowship


Report by Helen-Julie Johnson

The beautiful Minster church served as a magnificent setting for Verdi's Requiem.  I was struck by how good the choirs and orchestra looked - care had been taken to present a cohesive visual impression (the colours reflected on the programme cover, too).  Presentation is important- a cohesive vision leading to a most cohesive sound.

From the very beginning, Vetta Wise's conducting created exactly what Verdi intended.  The choirs had been expertly coached to her to observe every detail of Verdi's writing, culminating in a most perfect performance, full of  beautifully shaped phrasing and dynamic contrasts.  

The choirs achieved beauty of tone, warmth and lyricism in such movements as the Agnus Dei and, in exciting contrast, volume, vigour and drama in the Dies Irae.

The Kingfisher Sinfonia, led by Beth Spendlove, played Verdi's score with great musicianship.

Vetta Wise conducted with clarity and sensitivity.  She crafted this great work in such a way as to create a most wonderful and exciting performance from each and every member of the choirs and the orchestra.  Her immense skill was reflected in a performance producing  wonderful phrasing and colours from all orchestral players and singers.

The four International soloists  Mardi Byers (soprano), Cheri-Rose Katz (mezzo-soprano), Jeff Stewart (tenor)  and George Stevens (bass), each had a true Verdian voice, giving the ideal quality of sound for this work.   Mardi, in particular, had the necessary technique to paint wonderful colours - both dramatic and lyrical - in her music.

The fact that the audience gave a standing ovation at the end of the performance is a true compliment to Vetta Wise and the Pakefield Singers' Verdi Voices project.  It is wonderful to see a choir taking on this sort of challenging repertoire and achieving such a high standard in a performance to be proud of.

Many, many congratulations to Vetta Wise and the performers!


Review of Christmas Gloria at St Edmund's Church, Southwold

by Frank Cliff of the Eastern Daily Press, 20 December 2011


Review of Pakefield Singers Bonus Concert at St Edmund's Church, Southwold

by Ian Bauer for the Lowestoft Journal on 1 July 2011

The Pakefield Singers directed by Vetta Wise gave a most impressive performance in the lovely St Edmund's Church in Southwold on Saturday 25th June as part of the national marking of 'Armed Forces Day'.  This choral group showed it deserves its enviable reputation for their polished performances of a very wide range of musical styles.  The programme began with Gabriel Faure's hauntingly beautiful Requiem.  Such was the quality of the performance that, even in the spaces between movements, which can so often be spoilt by loud coughing, the large audience remained still and silent.  The Pie Jesu, usually sung by a solo soprano, was performed by a small group of ladies in the choir whose voices really blended, capturing the beauty of the movement.

The choir was accompanied on the organ by Giles Brightwell who displayed his cathedral choral background by matching the choir perfectly at every turn.  Andrew Jenkins sang the baritone solos with exactly the right tone.  There followed the first bonus item, Schubert's Marche Militaire played splendidly by Giles on the organ. 

The second main work was the Choral Suite from 'The Armed Man' by Welsh composer, Karl Jenkins.  This work reflects on the awful consequences of war remembering those soldiers who have given their lives.  A very different musical style now but this is what the Pakefield Singers are so good at.  Their versatility meant that the performance of the music, more dramatic than in the Faure, did not disappoint.  Once again, the organ playing of Giles Brightwell enhanced every nuance of the music. 

he Pakefield Singers were founded nine years ago by Vetta Wise and what a remarkable job she has done building a choir of such quality.  She has that rare skill of achieving the highest of standards while making rehearsals enjoyable and fun.  Bonus number two was 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' with audience participation in the chorus!  Bonus number three was a fantastic buffet after the concert with all proceeds going to the 'Help for Heroes' charity.


Review of Pakefield Singers Delight at St Peter and St John's Church, Lowestoft

by Joan Durrant on Friday, 7 August 2009

On behalf of the Lowestoft South Salvation Army I would like to say a sincere thank you for a truly wonderful concert that the Pakefield Singers performed under the leadership of Vetta Wise at St Peter's and St John's Church.  Their choice of music was exemplary as they performed some really beautiful entrancing items from their very extensive repertoire. 

The music covered beautiful melodies from works over the last three centuries; Laudate Dominum written by Wolfgang Mozart, Holy Holy Holy by George Frideric Handel.  Contributions included Londonderry Air and O For the Wings of a Dove. T here was a wide variety of melodies offered from the 20th century including some from film scores such as The Sound of Music, Sweet Charity and two contrasting popular pieces, 'I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside' and the negro spiritual 'Standing in the Need of Prayer', Sanctus written by Carl-Aage Eliasson shows how varied the concert proved to be.

As usual there we were all treated to a bonus in the soloists from Jamie Minns, the young treble singer with his renditions of 'Pie Jesu', and 'Fly Me to the Moon'.   Hannah Morgan, one of the younger members of the singers, sang two lovely arrangements as well as joining with Jamie to sing a duet.  Their singing was almost angelic and we all look forward to hearing from them again.

We are indebted to the members of the choir for the contribution which we received for our work with the young people in our local corps of ?304.