Friday, 22 February 2019

Seven choirs taking part in 10th festival

Seven choirs taking part in 10th festival

SEVEN singing groups are busy rehearsing for the annual Henley Choir Festival next Saturday (January 26), writes Matthew Wilson.

Now in its 10th year, the annual event is being held at St Mary’s Church in Hart Street, starting at 7pm, with proceeds going to Diabetes UK.

The seven choirs taking part are: St Mary’s, Henley; All Saints, Rotherfield Peppard; St Nicholas, Rotherfield Greys; St Margaret’s, Harpsden; Hambleden Valley Choir; St John the Baptist, Kidmore End, together with Christ the King, Sonning Common; and Amicorum.

As in previous years, the festival is being organised by former Henley mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin and All Saints’ Church organist and director of music David Butler, who said there had already been several rehearsals of the joint choir music overseen by Frances Brewitt-Taylor.

Looking ahead to next Saturday, they added: “The main piece this year is Handel’s Messiah Part I and of course we cannot sing this great work without the Hallelujah Chorus.

“We see the return of Rebecca Bell to sing the soprano solos, Lucy Gibbs, a choral scholar at Merton College, will sing alto, Tom Emlyn Williams will sing tenor and our local priest, James Stickings will sing bass. Frances Brewitt-Taylor will once again conduct the massed choirs.

“David Old, who had played the organ for all the previous choir festivals, has retired and moved to Cornwall. He is greatly missed not only by St Nicholas Church but also by all the choirs he has helped over the years.

“Michael Howell has very kindly agreed to play for us this year. Michael is the director of music at St Thomas’s, Goring and St Mary’s, Streatley.

“Over the years many charities have benefited and last year £1,470 was raised for Henley Stroke Club. This year the charity is Diabetes UK who do such great work for what is a much too common illness.”

There will be a bucket collection at the end of the evening.

Admission is £5 for both audience members and singers, with this year’s event being supported by estate agents Davis Tate.

For more information and to book tickets, call David Butler on 0118 972 4065 or Elizabeth Hodgkin on (01491) 573192.

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