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The Gaulitanus Choir ushered in 2014 with the second edition of  A New Year’s Toast on January 1st  at the Gozo Ministry’s Hall. With the venue filled to maximum capacity, the audience was led by Gozo Minister Dr Anton Refalo and Mrs Refalo and Dr Grazio Mercieca, chief of staff at the Gozo Ministry and Mrs Joyce Dimech, Permanent Secretary at the Gozo Ministry as well as Bank of Valletta’s Gozo Manager Mr Jack Thewma and Mrs Thewma and BOV’s Brand & Marketing Manager Mr Charles Azzopardi. Mr Anton Tabone, ex-Acting President of the Republic, and Mrs Tabone were also in attendance. The concert was indeed supported by the Gozo Cultural Office and Bank of Valletta.

The choir kicked off the concert with 4 Christmas Songs by Don Besig. Entitled Emmanuel, Born tonight in Bethlehem, Lullaby to the Christ Child and Sing with Joy! Glory Hallelujah!, they were receiving their Malta premiere. The choir was here also joined by violinist David Lang.

Young up-and-coming violinist Pierre Louis Attard, a regular face in Gaulitanus events, then presented the first of his two instrumental interludes: Beethoven’s Allegro con brio (1st movement) from the

Violin Sonata No. 1 in D major Op. 12 No.1. He was accompanied on the piano by his father Colin Attard. Later in the programme both also performed the Adagio (2nd movement) from Johannes Brahms’s

Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor Op. 108 – Adagio (2nd movt).

The Gaulitanus Choir eventually performed three rather rhythmic, exciting and bouncy numbers:  Charles Rosen’s Christmas Gloria, David Willcocks’s A Birthday Carol and Alleluia! Gloria! from the musical ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Vann Trapp and Tom Fettke.

Then audience was then offered a drink to toast the New Year and was also invited to practice some verses for the concluding Napolitana! – New Year’s Medley. This boisterous medley included several ever-popular Neapolitan songs, namely: Ciribiribin, Vieni sul mar, La Spagnola, Io Te Vurria Vasa, Oh Mari, Serenata, Tango delle capinere, Non ti scordar di me, Santa Lucia, Torna a Surriento and Funiculì Funiculà. Arranged by choir’s conductor and artistic director Colin Attard and the choir’s pianist Stephen Attard, it featured the choir, guest soprano Georgina Gauci and the choir’s own soloists, mezzo-soprano Francesca Sciberras and tenor Terry Shaw. These were backed by an instrumental ensemble which added colour to this appropriate festive finale. As expected the medley was very much well-received and the conductor consented an encore.

The Gaulitanus Choir now rounds up its cultural year by its annual dinner on Friday 10th January and its Annual General Meeting on Friday 17th January.