OUR choir sings for fun, says Sara Ducker, and for performance experience, at local events and fundraising for local charities. And how fantastic the last year has been for us – if you’re inspired by what we’ve been up to – our rehearsals, which started this week at New Greenham Arts, are open to all. At our open mornings, this time last year, we were delighted to welcome some new faces and try out new repertoire, including stirring James Bond themes as well as uplifting spirituals. Our new joiners welcomed the chance to try us out for free and get to know us over coffee and biscuits.
In October, the focus began to shift towards Christmas community events and brushing up our repertoire of carols, both familiar and new. We began the festivities by singing around a Christmas tree at Pineapple Palace’s Christmas market in Thatcham.
We also sang for the patients at Newbury hospital – as one member recalls: “The delight on the face of one lady as she sang along to the carols brought a tear to my eye.” This was followed in the afternoon by carols at the Hungerford Care Home.
1000 Voices has rapidly become a cornerstone of Newbury’s Christmas events – joining with so many others to fill our streets with song is a highlight of our year. We rounded off the festive season with a series of fundraising pop-ups, singing in John Lewis, Camp Hopson and at the Newbury Christmas market. We were thrilled to raise more than £200 for our chosen charity, Berkshire Women’s Aid. The new year once again focused on open mornings and the introduction of new repertoire for our summer concert. We joined Cold Ash Brass for their May concert at St Mary’s Church, Thatcham, performing a selection of pieces, including Skyfall with the band, to a capacity audience. One of the choir said the band made “a fabulous sound which filled the space and the senses, and it was a treat to be able to perform with them”.
We rounded off our year enjoying summer events, including St Nicolas’ Art Festival and our Cream Tea Concert in the grounds of Newbury’s parish church, coinciding with the Newbury Food Festival. As one audience member put it: “I have never felt more quintessentially English; here I sit on a warm June afternoon,in a tweed jacket, surrounded by gingham cloths, eating delicious scones with oodles of jam, cream and fresh strawberries, listening to angelic voices in the middle of a historic English town – delightful.”
We were back at Newbury hospital for its summer garden party – put on by the staff for their patients, families and carers, to celebrate the first anniversary of their sensory garden. The rain held off and we joined them, along with mayoress Jo Day, for a lovely cream tea... more jam and cream. We were humbled by our final event of the season, boosting morale for inspiring women at the Race For Life event at the Newbury Showground – all in pink.
What will our new season bring? Join us at New Greenham Arts (every Wednesday 9.15am to 11.15am) and find out.
The choir sings in up to four parts, both accompanied and unaccompanied, with a wide repertoire, from 18th-century music to classical and disco classics.We host one or two concerts a year, usually inviting guest performers such as soloists, musicians or other music groups to join us, and also perform a series of ‘pop-up’community events through-out the year.
If the Living Art Hungerford gallery were a band, curator Justin Cook would have cited “artistic differences” as the reason for his departure. He has now cut loose from the family firm to do his own thing at ‘Oil’, just a few doors down the road. TRISH LEE spoke to him about his new gallery, which recently launched with an exhibition in its ‘Boiler Room’