Portsmouth Choral Union at St Mary’s Church, Portsmouth

David Cassidy pictured in 2008. Picture: PA

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AFTER 37 years as Portsmouth Choral Union’s music director, Jonathan Willcocks signed off with a concert adventurous in its African inspiration.

It also featured delicate shadings of expression from a choir that has consistently attained high standards under his leadership.

The event was shared with Portchester’s Castle Primary School Junior Choir and Call Me Al Jazz Quintet, formed by Alexander L’Estrange for the 2008 premiere of his work Zimbe!

Willcocks conjured up the full range of snappy syncopations, sorrow and exuberance, swaying and handclapping, a sense of the big African sky and even a sublime segue from wedding song to dance of death.

The finale ended with a joyous, arms-aloft shout from PCU and the schoolchildren – not only well-trained but visibly inspired by their director, Andrew Jackson. David Gostick succeeds Willcocks as music director.