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Outside, thunder and lightening threatened at our Minchinhampton summer concert this year, but inside a well-filled Holy Trinity Church the focus was all on joyous music making, with plenty of new numbers to delight the audience, along with just a few old favourites to pique the memory. Amongst other numbers Abba's timeless Thank you for the Music, the 1920s classic Apple Blossom Time, Mozart's Allelujah, an a capella Country Gardens and a Lennon & McCartney medley all vied for attention in the first half.
Our rafter-shaking shout at the start of the second half's opening number, Buffalo Gals, provoked squeals of surprise and heralded a sequence of songs which demonstrated that variety remains at the heart of our programming, with the spiritual Do Lord, a Gershwin medley, the tragicomic Edwardian The Goslings, Queen's We are the Champions and Rodgers and Hammerstein's You'll never walk alone all featuring amongst the ten numbers. The ladies loved singing Sandy Denny's Who knows where the Time goes, which had been sponsored by a long-time supporter of ours.
To round out a great evening, our wonderful accompanist Barrie Cooper treated us all to a masterful performance of a Chopin Prelude in the first half, and after the interval we were all delighted to continue our tradition of giving money we'd raised to local good causes when our Musical Director Helen Sims presented cheques to Building Circles In Gloucestershire and the 1st Minchinhampton Scout Group.
Our Christmas concerts are always well supported and 2014 was no exception, with not a ticket to be had for the Friday night, and a well-filled Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton on Saturday too. To grab the audience's attention we began unusually with an audience carol, the jubilant Sing Aloud On This Day, followed by Vaughan Williams' joyful anthem Let All The World In Every Corner Sing. In telling contrast was the sad, 16th century Coventry Carol, rapidly followed by Karl Jenkins' popular Adiemus and a real audience-pleaser: the catchy Schneewaltzer.
The second half saw one of the most atmospheric openings we have ever staged, with the first verse of Silent Night being sung by the men in German at the back of the darkened church, beginning the first of three songs commemorating the centenary of WWI. A wonderfully poignant a capella arrangement of Keep The Home Fires Burning was followed by Barrie Cooper's beautiful setting of The Soldier, first heard last June. Never ones to short change an audience, there were twenty two songs in our programme, including three audience carols!
Unfortunately, due to illness Barrie was unable to accompany us for these concerts, but our assistant accompanist Steve Hoskin stepped in at short notice and thoroughly deserved both the choir and the audience's fulsome applause. As always, we were very happy to give donations to some very deserving local causes, and these concerts' beneficiaries were: Cotswold Care Hospice, The Coigne Nursery and Stroud Hospital League of Friends.
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