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Squeezing our usual pair of June concerts in Minchinhampton into just one resulted in a Holy Trinity Church jam packed with an audience determined to enjoy itself. The evening got off to a rousing start with the spiritual Soon-ah will be done followed by a rafter-raising rendition of Zadok the priest. Performances of Nellie the elephant and The teddy bears' picnic provided light relief, whilst the choir's language skills were on display as we tackled the Welsh classic Diolch I'r Ior. As always, the programme featured our trademark eclectic mix of styles.
For many the highlight of the night was a superb new song, especially written by our accompanist Barrie Cooper to commemorate the centenary of the start of WWI. The soldier is a setting of Rupert Brooke's famous poem, which Barrie has clothed in music of sensitivity and serenity. Each half of the concert finished with a medley of songs: Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel and five numbers form Jesus Christ Superstar.
It was a pleasure for us to welcome Holy Trinity's new rector, Helen Bailey, to the first of what we hope will be many Stuart Singers' concerts. As always, we were delighted to be able to donate money to some deserving local causes, and this summer's beneficiaries were: Allsorts, Home Start and Maggie's.
The evening over, we dismantled the staging, had a good night's sleep, and sang the whole programme again the next evening at St Mary's church in Tetbury!
With our pair of ever-popular sell-out Minchinhampton concerts, Christmas is alwasy a busy time for the Stuart Singers, but this year we also managed to fit in singing two extra Christmas programmes, at prestigious concerts at Gloucester Cathedral and at Cheltenham Ladies College. Standards like Sleigh Ride and Do You Hear What I Hear, vied with new favourites such as the Ragtime Carol and Christmas Lullaby as audience pleasers, but there's no doubt that Walking in the Air, with 11 year old guest soloist Rosie-Jane Widdowson, was for many one of this year's highights.
Not only were we delighted to be able to help The Listening Post raise money at their Cathedral concert, we also gave away at the two Minchinhampton concerts money which we had raised ourselves, and this Christmas' deserving beneficiaries were Guide Dogs for the Blind, Five Valley Sounds, GRH Intensive Care Unit and Minchinhampton's own Holy Trinity Church.
With the concert season over for another busy year, we'll take a few week's break, before returning in January to begin rehearsing another season of new songs.
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