Musical open house brings crowds flocking back to Fairfield

Open house: the free performances and pay-what-you-can tickets saw the Fairfield Halls bustling for Sunday’s Borough of Culture opening event

CROYDON COMMENTARY: There’s been widespread praise for the performers and performances at the Fairfield Halls for the Borough of Culture opening event, which LEWIS WHITE thoroughly enjoyed

Free show: Subrang Arts showed what they can do outside as well as inside the Halls

I went to the Sunday session of the Oratorio of Hope at the Fairfield Halls, the opening event in Croydon’s year as the Borough of Culture, and loved it.

I couldn’t get there until around 5pm, so missed many acts on the free stages, but it was clear from the throng of people there of all ages and heritages that it was all going well.

I heard three choirs, who were all brilliant.

At 7pm, the London Mozart Players started the Oratorio. It was in eight sections, all different, with the orchestra in combination with an Indian dance group and musicians, a male modern dancer, adult choirs, youth choirs and young classical musicians, an individual singer rap-and-more-artist, plus a screen show of art by a school on the theme of Croydon today.

There were brand new musical works, which involved singing, poetry and modern classical and fusion between western and Indian classical music, all which I would like to listen to again, and which were of a high calibre.

The lighting was excellent.

The tickets were officially “pay what you feel is appropriate” – the suggestions being £5.50, £15 or over £25. I opted for the middle, and would not have felt disappointed had I paid the higher price.

All tastes: there were a variety of musical styles being performed

I have not seen the Fairfield lobby and Sun Lounge so busy, so full of happy people, nor have I seen the Concert Hall so full for a very long time.

The bustle created by having an “open house” at the Fairfield Halls must be close to what was promised, and hoped for, before the refurbishment.

One thing I really liked was the fact that in the Concert Hall they had taken out the big raised stage, or sunk most of it down, so that the players at the front and middle were on level ground, spreading outwards, almost merging with the audience.

Drums and brass and others were at the back, raised a foot or two.

This arrangement looked visually relaxed, and really integrated the orchestra with the dancers and the audience. I hope that the management do this again. Much more intimate and integrated , creating an atmosphere far, far better in my opinion that the traditional performers on high stage.

Standing ovation: the applause for the London Mozart Players and others was well-deserved

Congratulations to the LMP, all the groups, and to the Fairfield Halls management for a superb afternoon and evening. They all have clearly worked at it very hard to create a unique event, but clearly, they also enjoyed it as much as the audience did.

The standing ovation at the end was well deserved.

Looking at and listening to the talented young singers and musicians, and strong community support from not only parents but a range of ages, definitely gave me hope for the future of music in Croydon.

The talent is there, but harnessing and showing that talent must take a significant amount of public money. How to achieve that, in cash-strapped Croydon in post-Brexit Britain, is the hard question.

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This entry was posted in Art, Borough of Culture 2023, Dance, Fairfield Halls, London Mozart Players and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Musical open house brings crowds flocking back to Fairfield

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    I wasn’t able to attend myself but I’ve heard good reports from those who did. Croydon definitely has the creativity and talent needed for a wonderful year of culture – we just need to find more ways of providing opportunities for it to shine

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