THE Henley Symphony Orchestra has returned from a tour to Falaise to celebrate 40 years of twinning (“jumelage”) with the Normandy town and to commemorate 70 years since the D Day landings, which will be marked by a royal visit to the area on June 6 by the Queen.
The choirs of Falaise and neighbouring Putange joined the orchestra in two concerts, performing Faure’s beautiful Requiem and Rutter’s Gloria, conducted by Henley’s Chris Walker.
More than 100 singers sang to the packed Forum concert hall in Falaise on the Saturday night and to a warm and enthusiastic audience on the Sunday in the church of Putange, a truly memorable and emotional occasion.
The programme also included Walton’s stirring and patriotic Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, which was taken from his film score of The First of the Few, written in 1942 after the Battle of Britain turned the tide for the allies.
Members of the Henley-Falaise Twinning Association accompanied the tour. Speaking at a celebration soirée in Falaise on the Sunday night, chairman Edward Sandars said: “We are proud to be twinned with Falaise with the spirit of tradition and pride of our hosts in Falaise and in Normandy, a tradition which is modern, up to date and looks forward to the future.