The Weymouth Choral Society performed to a packed and enthusiastic audience on Saturday with their Summer Soiree at All Saints School. The choir, under the baton of musical director, Helen Brind, was joined by The Weymouth Concert Brass and accordionist Louise Dukes as special guests in a wide-ranging programme of popular music.

Most of the pieces were genuine old favourites and the range was huge. After the audience had stood for a stirring arrangement of the National Anthem by choir and band, the programme moved into the informal tone that was the hallmark of the evening with two well-known show pieces by Irving Berlin.

Louise Dukes then displayed superb technique with the complex fingering of lively pieces like Offenbach’s Cancan followed by the Sailor’s Hornpipe, much loved of the Royal Navy - and fans of Blue Peter and the ever popular Over the Waves.

Continuing the maritime theme, the choir took obvious enjoyment in performing two songs by Dorset composer Vanessa Young who was a guest in the audience. The songs – Married to the Sea and Bring the Bounty In – reflected in turn the sailor’s inability to resist the lure of the sea and Dorset’s links with smuggling.

The Weymouth Concert Brass, sensitively directed by Philip George, then took over with the rousing march, Imperial Echoes, contrasted with a rendering of a Women’s Institute favourite - the inspirational Hymn, He Raised Me Up, beautifully played by the group’s principal cornettist Ceri Brady.

The rest of the concert was equally enjoyable. Helen brought the brass band under her baton to join the choir in Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, before switching the mood back with a Medley from the Sound of Music.

Louise Dukes returned with another contrasting set to display her virtuosity including the Pink Panther theme and Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The Weymouth Concert Brass received another warm response from the audience by playing the Floral Dance and, especially, a compilation of wartime songs to celebrate VE Day.

As a final gesture of solidarity with the Society’s guests, Helen handed over her baton to Philip George for him to conduct a rousing finale by the choir and brass, based on favourites from the Last Night of the Proms – a fitting end to a delightful evening.

Norman Hartley