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A lovely year

Posted by on February 10, 2014

I’m writing this in the depths of a damp winter and looking back on all the lovely singing events of the last year really cheers me up!

Huge thanks to both my choirs for their generosity, good humour and willingness to sing anything I throw at them!

Tenbury Library Choir did a wonderful concert in November in Tenbury Methodist Church to raise funds for Air Ambulance and the church. We decided to go for a late afternoon concert on the Mistletoe day and were very pleased to get a full house, with much jostling for tea and cakes (provided by choir members) in the interval. We enjoyed being at the Church so much that we’ll be doing a summer concert there on Thursday June 12th 2014, 7.30pm tickets £5 sold on the door.

Ludlow Larks performed two great concerts last summer; on a wet windy evening in Abdon Church we sang our hearts out to a full house. The interval food prepared by locals was like nothing we had ever seen and even the raffle prizes had our eyes on stalks! The church had been beautifully decorated with summer flowers. The organisers enjoyed the choir so much they have invited us back to do another concert at the church this year, on Saturday November 3rd

Our summer concert was held as usual, at Ludlow Methodist Church, where, once again, church generosity allowed us to donate every penny to our charity. We were joined once again by the fabulous Men from Off and it wouldn’t be the same without them. We had a full house and with poems from Gill McEvoy and other choir members, ably coached by Judith, it was a splendid evening.

The proceeds from both concerts went to Ailsa’s Mahaque Well Fund, which has so far paid for two bore holes in Mozambique and is on the way to a third and has made us all very excited.

Edith suggested that I wrote a song about the wells which I did in the car on the way home from practice and it’s now part of our repertoire. We sent a recording of the choir singing it over to Jude in Mahaque. Ailsa visited Mahaque last year and when she returned we were able to see fantastic photos of her visit including village women wearing some of the jewellery the choir sent out to them. It’s wonderful to have this contact with this far away place.

This year our summer concert is on Wednesday July 23rd 7.30 at Ludlow Methodist Church, Broad St, Tickets £5 on the door, joined once again by the men from off

Sadly Ludlow New Voices folded last October, with many a tear in the eye, due to falling numbers. We had a great few years with a dedicated and fun group and Ros and I were very sorry to see the choir go but we hope they will all go on to sing for the rest of their lives and enjoy the fun of choir singing. They performed a very good concert in June with some very able soloists.

Shropshire Harmony

For several years I’ve been singing in a West gallery choir based at Bishop’s Castle, called Shropshire Harmony. Led by Sue Harris, the choir with monthly meetings is growing in numbers, with both voices and instruments. We performed a Christmas concert at Hopesay Church, occasionally singing in its West Gallery, and with a mountain of mince pies and much mulled wine, had a fine evening! We are always happy to see new people at both our rehearsals and workshops. This year on April 27th, we have Dave Townsend leading a once day workshop. Dave is recognised as one of the leading experts of West Gallery Music.

Details can be found at www.shropshireharmony.org.uk

Events and concerts

Oak Barn singing weekend at the end of July was one of the best ever, with workshops lead by Sue Harris, Ros Thomas, Mark Thomas and me. Despite a wet Saturday night, we crammed into the barn and sang and people did turns, with Gill once again having us in stitches! This year the weekend is July 25th-27th and song teachers will be myself, Sue Harris and Ros Thomas. Sue will lead a singing walk to the Heath Chapel where we hope to have a picnic and sing.

Church Crawl The annual Church crawl was once again a really lovely weekend with visits to churches at Hope Bagot and its magnificent yew tree, Whitton, our beloved Heath Chapel and a real jewel, a tiny chapel at Broadstone, tucked away in a field, near Munslow. The weather was glorious; warm and sunny and we enjoyed two picnic lunches. With shared food and shared song teaching, this is a wonderful weekend for me!

This year we will be church crawling again October 17th – 19th. I’ll have great fun over the summer seeking out new places to sing.

ON a crisp, cold day in  February, I hosted an Arts Alive event, Northern Harmony, from USA, a sell out afternoon concert. The young choir were breath taking and I enjoyed hosting them all at Oak Barn. They have asked to revisit us and will be at Clee St Margaret Village Hall on Saturday Oct 4th with a workshop and concert.

In October Julie Felix once again gave a concert at the Village Hall. It was at least 8 years since her last one. Her sell out concert was enjoyed by us all and her energy and memory for her huge repertoire of songs was amazing.

Other events…new for 2014

This year Shrewsbury Sing for Water will take place on June 28th, to raise funds for Water Aid, with massed choirs. Watch out for details.

On Saturday May 10th, choirs led by three choir leaders, including me, will meet near Hay on Wye for a communal sing and social. More details soon from Polly.

Out of the Land

On Saturday 27th September at Clee St Margaret Village Hall will be the world premier of “Out of the Land our stories are born”, will be performed. Devised by poet Gill McEvoy and Polly Bolton, we tell the stories in poems, narration and song, of three women living in South Shropshire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Sarah Burton of Cold Weston, Molly Morgan of Diddlebury and poor Katherine More of More Hall. We are rehearsing  with a choir of about 25 to get ready for this performance, which we hope will be the first of many. Gill and I are really excited about the project and the choir are sounding great.

Watch this space!  www.oak-barn.co.uk

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