Latest News


  • Showbiz calling!
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 17 Feb 2024
    Showbiz calling!
    It’s never dull at Elmbridge Choir! Out of the blue we were contacted by a local TV production company, asking if we could help with a group of our members to perform a jingle for a pitch to a national TV network for a new prime-time TV show. Of course, we can!

    So, about 25 or our 100 members did their auditions at rehearsals and the next day, our MD, Hugh, working with the TV producer’s lyrics, composed and arranged the music to meet the TV producer’s brief for the sound and look required.

    Barely a week later, there we were in a walk-through with the star and the production company, singing the jingle and standing in as the show’s celebrities and contestants. The next day, due to the train strike we couldn’t go to the full run-through at the TV network studios, instead, we recorded the jingle locally, ready to be packaged up with the rest of the footage for the TV network to review.

    We had very positive feedback from the production company saying "loved the sound,  loved the look, the energy in the room was great" and "lovely sound wafting upstairs, we should start every day like this".

    Now we wait and see what happens! Whatever the outcome, it's been a great opportunity for our choir and a chance for our members to participate again in the world of TV and entertainment.
  • 2023 Prague Advent Choral Meeting
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 7 Dec 2023
    2023 Prague Advent Choral Meeting
    We had a wonderful weekend reprising our inaugural Choir tour of 2008 at the 2023 Prague Advent Choral Meeting. This time we joined ten other choirs from Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Germany, Hungary and Croatia. We sang in St Nicholas' Church, St Michaels' Church and finally in the Old Town Square Christmas market. 

    When not performing we all enjoyed a Czech Folklore dinner with local musicians, a sight-seeing boat trip down the Vltava River and plenty of socialising, forging new friendships, reviving past memories and creating very many more new memories.  
  • NWS Samaritans ABBA-themed concert and event
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 17 Nov 2023
    NWS Samaritans ABBA-themed concert and event
    What a wonderful evening we all had, singing an ABBA-themed repertoire in support of the North West Surrey Samaritans (Walton on Thames)

    During a very well-received performance, attended by the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Shannon Saise-Marshall and her Consort, Maj (Retd) Rob Marshall, the Mayor and Mayoress of Elmbridge Cllr Richard Williams & Mrs Agnieszka Williams and The Mayor and Mayoress of Woking, Cllr M Ilyas Raja & Mrs Nargas Ilyas Khan the enthusiastic audience clapped,  danced and cheered at the end of the songs, culminating with a standing ovation!

    The Samaritans are delighted that as well as raising awareness, they raised £2500 towards their annual costs, and they, their audience and volunteers had a great time. We heard comments such as : “ what a fantastic show! They really looked like they were enjoying themselves!” and “it was great hearing songs I know so well done in such a different yet recognisable way. Who knew a choir could have such fun and sing music like this?” and “I was hoping to have a good time, and I certainly did!

    Bravo and congratulations Hugh, Olivia, our soloists Sara, Sue, James, Debbie, and Jane, and all of you,  for grasping the moment and giving such a cracking performance, you did us all proud!

    Photo : courtesy of Nicky Barranger (https://nicolabarranger.co.uk)
    From left to right:
    Olivia Hugh-Jones (Conductor, Elmbridge Choir), Karen Barrnett (Branch Director, Samaritans), The Mayor of Woking, Cllr M Ilyas Raja, the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Shannon Saise-Marshall, the Mayor of Elmbridge Cllr Richard Williams.
     
  • SCC Act of Remembrance
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 17 Nov 2023
    SCC Act of Remembrance
    We had a very well-received appearance at the SCC Remembrance Service this morning, thankfully conducted indoors due to the inclement weather. Again, it was a very moving and reflective service, conducted with solemnity and respect.
    Afterward while we were enjoying the refreshments, we met the High Sheriff of Surrey, T A D B Wates Esq DL who had laid a wreath during the service.  
     
    He commented that “ it’s so important it is to have a choir lead the singing as once you started everyone else sang”. He was very interested in Elmbridge Choir's ethos which focuses on delivering so much more than just 'singing together'.  He appreciated that since Elmbridge Choir's formation in 2005,  it’s always been about the wider social picture – of creating a community within our choir, serving our local community,  whilst sharing the well—documented benefits to health and well-being that singing brings, raising funds for local good causes. 
  • Waitrose Cobham's Grand re-opening, October 2023
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 27 Oct 2023
    Waitrose Cobham's Grand re-opening, October 2023
    Thank you to Hugh and the merry group who gave such a spirited and enjoyable performance at Waitrose, Cobham’s grand re-opening. The branch looked so inviting with seasonal goods and products enticingly displayed.

    Branch Manager, Sarah, and a great number of their staff, thoroughly enjoyed our singing, as did a large number of shoppers who variously stood and watched, took photos and videos, posted on social media, sang along, and danced out the door laden with their lovely goodies. As ever, given the excited chatter, as we sipped our complementary prosecco afterward, all clearly felt and shared the joy, passion, and pleasure we have singing. 

    So much so, that one customer was so thrilled to see our performance and loved all the different styles of music we sang there, and decided then and there that she wanted to join a choir. Well done the Waitrose crew and welcome to our newest member!

     
  • Second Soprano Peggy Celebrates her 100th Birthday
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 19 Jul 2023
    If we needed any more proof that singing is good for our health and wellbeing,.....

    We are celebrating a very special birthday, as our dear Peggy turns 100!

    Peggy is an inspiration to us all. She joined the choir at the grand young age of 93 - proving it's never too late to start a new hobby! She turns up to rehearsal, week after week, whatever the weather, always smiling, never complaining, throwing herself into the music, happy to learn new songs. She loves to sing and to perform at concerts, she has been to Malta with us on tour and will be joining us on our choir trip to Prague in November. 

    At our "Songs on a Summer Breeze" concert on Saturday, choir and audience sang a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" while the Mayor of Elmbridge, Cllr Richard Williams, presented her with a bouquet of flowers! Congratulations Peggy, and may we celebrate many more birthdays with you!

     
  • RC Sherriff Trust Grant awarded
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  •  Date Posted: Fri, 26 May 2023
    RC Sherriff Trust Grant awarded
    We are delighted and grateful to have been awarded a grant by the R C Sherriff Trust in support of our project to develop and improve our musical competence by singing to live accompaniment at concerts.

    As a community choir that welcomes all regardless of their musical ability or experience, our MD Hugh Beckwith needs to lead our 90-strong members, with varying ability and confidence to sing the five voice parts in time, in tune and in harmony, whilst simultaneously directing the pianist to support the singing, rather than purely playing the piece as written.

    One of our strategic aims, our project aims to develop and enhance the calibre and competence of our individual members and choir as a whole, bringing an extra depth and quality to our performance increasing and enriching our audience’s enjoyment and fulfilling our members’ aspirations to improve their singing abilities.

     
  • Elmbridge Choir on tour!
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  •  Date Posted: Sat, 4 Mar 2023

    Elmbridge Choir has been "on the road" twice in 10 days - and what a fantastic time we've had!



    First stop - we were very proud to take part in the inaugural Elmbridge Choirs' Festival at St Peter's Church, Hersham, held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The RC Sherriff Trust. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, performing five songs - two for the first time - and it was a joy to hear four other local choirs at such a wonderful community event. We really missed our Musical Director, Hugh, who couldn't be with us, but were delighted that the wonderful Richard Robbins was able to step in at short notice and hold the baton!









    Hugh was back out front for us at our second stop - Beaconsfield Festival of Choirs. What a fabulous treat, sharing the stage with five choirs from across the country, each singing three songs. The range was so diverse and every choir put their heart and soul into their performance. This was a second visit to this wonderful festival - we first appeared there in 2016 - and really got us in the mood for when we spread our wings even further later in the year to perform at the Prague International Advent Choral Festival!


     
  • "Everywhere Christmas Tonight!"
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 12 Dec 2022
    "Everywhere Christmas Tonight!"
    Wowzers! What a fantastic concert on Saturday!

    A completely brilliant performance from Surrey Rainbow Choir set the scene for a superb evening, swiftly followed by a highly entertaining Christmas duet on piano and vocals from Elmbridge Choir’s very own, multi-talented Musical Director, Hugh Beckwith, and Surrey Rainbow Choir’s equally incredible MD, Timothy Peters. Elmbridge Choir then hit the stage with a programme of festive delights to warm up the chilliest night and soothe the troubled brows of those missing England’s quarter final appearance at the World Cup! As it turned out, they probably made the right decision!

    To top it all, our generous audience and choir members raised a fantastic £433 towards the inspirational work of Elmbridge Community Eco Hub. Thank you all so much!

    We were pleased to welcome the Mayor of Elmbridge, Cllr Simon Waugh, former Mayor Cllr Tony Popham and Founder of Elmbridge Community Eco Hub, Michael Tumilty.

    Special thanks to the wonderful violinist, Olivia Hugh-Jones, for accompanying us for our encore, "Prepare the Way".
     
  • We're officially old enough to drive!
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 7 Sep 2022
    We're officially old enough to drive!
    The very best celebrations always feature cake - and Elmbridge Choir enjoyed a whopping sponge and cream delight for our 17th Birthday this week!

    We had lots to celebrate this Founder's Day. It was way back in 2005 that the choir was formed in Cobham and, since then, we have raised many thousands of pounds for good causes in the local area through our concerts and performances. We now have 90 active members who love the friendship and joy that singing brings and we’re looking for even more to come and join us. And we're planning lots of performances for the months ahead, which will see us out and about in the community.

    After scoffing a lot of deliciousness - all thanks to members Kim and Amanda - we launched into rehearsals for our Christmas concert on 10th December.

    Happy Birthday to us!
  • 'MIDSUMMER MEMORIES' CONCERT
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  •  Date Posted: Tue, 26 Jul 2022
    'MIDSUMMER MEMORIES' CONCERT
    Just days after the hottest day on record, Elmbridge Choir brought warmth and nostalgia to Esher Theatre on 23rd July with a concert jammed full of amazing songs!

    MD Hugh Beckwith took charge as our members sang their hearts out to a range of wonderful, memorable tunes - from Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" to John Rutter's "For the Beauty of the Earth" and an incredible, complex, lyrical arrangement of Abba's "I Have a Dream". We went a cappella, too, with a rousing African number, "Uthe Wena", and a haunting rendition of the Ukrainian "Tebe Poem".

    Elmbridge Choir loves to raise awareness and funds at its concerts for local good causes and our beneficiary this time was Surrey Care Trust's Swingbridge Boats. Two beautiful narrow boats are worked by a team of volunteers - including one of our very own members - to help provide a wonderful experience for young people, community groups, the elderly, families and those with mental health issues. Their outings offer the opportunity to enhance wellbeing with the soothing gentle speed and tranquility of travelling on water.

    We were absolutely delighted to be able to raise £614 for this worthwhile and life enhancing cause.

    Now we're off on our summer break. We'll resume rehearsals at the end of August - when Christmas will be firmly on the agenda!
     
  • Music, salve to the soul, crosses the cultural divide
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 30 Jun 2022
    Isn’t it amazing just how powerful music is, how it breaks down barriers and crosses cultures to bring comfort? Listen to BBC Radio Surrey tomorrow, Friday 1st July, at about 9.10am when concert organiser Johnny Kilhams and, on behalf of David who is unable to participate due to work commitments, Amanda Fisackerly, tell the story of a chance meeting by David resulted in four recently arrived Ukrainian refugees (two ladies and their sons) being invited to come to A Concert for Refugees, taking place on Sunday 3rd July at 5pm, at ACS International School in Cobham, Portsmouth Rd, Hersham, Cobham KT11 1BL. 

    Could you help achieve the goal of raising £20,000, for refugees and the humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine?  Tickets priced £20 are available at :  support the Ukrainian humanitarian effort 
     
  • Social as much as songful
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 19 Jun 2022
    Social as much as songful
    Silvermere Inn on the Lake, Cobham, was the venue for the soprano section summer meet-up, enjoying the chance to chat, laugh, and discover more about our singing companions over a coffee and croissant.  We learned about interests and hobbies other members pursue that perhaps normal rehearsal break times can't fulfil.  It's great to enjoy more fully the social side of singing together, which brings us all closer together and cements the sense of community and inclusivity.
    Attachment:
  • How singing helped with employee re-engagement
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  •  Date Posted: Tue, 31 May 2022
    How singing helped with employee re-engagement
    One of the greatest challenges for organisations and companies during the pandemic was keeping the corporate culture and cohesion of colleagues, even in the smallest of workforces. Many employees have worked at home for the last two years, and maybe only spoken to co-workers or managers sporadically, in some cases less than once a week.

    As employers and employees grapple with the return to working in a shared space, it’s clear that for some, the flexibility of home working, driven by the pandemic, has become an attractive ‘normal’ with some employees feeling reluctant to return.

    However, not all businesses want their staff to continue working remotely full time and some are preparing for a return to the office in some form or another. So what can employers do to encourage people to return to the workplace and reconnect with their colleagues and the purpose of the organisation?

    Among other initiatives, Surrey County Council (SCC) pro-actively chose to embrace the excitement and shared focus of the Platinum Jubilee. It hosted an employee event over the lunch period, encouraging its workforce from across the county to meet during the break and spend some time together in an informal setting. Due to the neurochemicals released when people sing together with others giving a heightened sense of connectedness and inclusion, SCC invited Elmbridge Choir to sing during the event. The choir is a thriving volunteer led, not for profit, non audition, mixed voice adult community choir based in Surrey.

    Over one hundred employees signed up to attend, many getting into the swing of it by joining in with the singing and wearing Jubilee themed clothes, whilst others brought home baked Jubilee cupcakes to share.

    As Madeleine Pallas, Head of Internal Communications says: “Thank you very much for your star turn at yesterday’s Platinum Jubilee event. Your choir’s contribution very much made the day, pulling it all together, and from the feedback I have received, our staff loved it!”

    Elmbridge Choir Chair, Amanda Fisackerly commented: “Although only a quarter of our 90 members could attend, we had a great time! It’s so good for us to give something back to our community, especially those who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic to serve our needs under such difficult circumstances. It gave us a chance to practice our performance craft, while singing uplifting and inspiring music. It was heart warming to see the audience joining in and some were even dancing!”

    Elmbridge Choir offers potential new members of any age a free programme of taster sessions, so they can try the choir out for four weeks before deciding if they’d like to join. In particular, the choir is looking for new tenor and bass members at the moment.

    As first time performer, recent new bass member Andy says: “I loved it. Some butterflies but as soon as we started it was amazing. Filled me with a great sense of pride and joy! The fact it was for a good cause is just icing on the cake! Elmbridge Choir gives me a great feeling of togetherness and I find it really relaxing and rewarding. Forget yoga. Join our choir.”
     
  • "What’s not to like! Love it. Forget yoga. Join our choir”
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 30 May 2022
    "What’s not to like! Love it. Forget yoga. Join our choir”
    Considering joining a choir? We could babble on about what we think, however we asked new bass, Andy H, what his thoughts were :

    Q : What does being a member of Elmbridge choir give you?
    A : What a wonderful welcoming group! Great fun, great togetherness and helping good causes. What’s not to like! Love it. All for less than you’d spend on a latte each week”. 

    Q : what was it like doing your first performance?
    A : “Still can’t believe it happened. Incredible venue. Some butterflies but as soon as it started it was amazing. Filled me with a great sense of pride and joy! The fact it was for a good cause is just icing on the cake! Can’t wait for the next two in July and then the Christmas Concert, and it’s only May!”

    Q : so to sum up then how does being a member of Elmbridge choir make you feel?
    A : “Love it. Great feeling of togetherness and for me I find it really relaxing and rewarding. Forget yoga. Join our choir” 

    On offer to potential new members is a free programme of taster sessions, so they can try the choir out for four weeks before deciding if they’d like to join. For those who need a little more encouragement, there is the chance to come and join in a rehearsal without committing to a taster programme, so the door is well and truly open for anyone who fancies being creative and belonging to a happy, friendly group of singers. Rehearsals are on Tuesday nights in a large, airy venue with great acoustics.

    Anyone interested in joining the choir should visit www.elmbridgechoir.co.uk and complete a short Expression of Interest form. In particular, we are looking for new tenor and bass members at the moment.
     
  • ELMBRIDGE CHOIR ON BBC RADIO SURREY
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 5 May 2022

    The airwaves will be crackling tomorrow morning (Friday 6 May) when our very own Chairperson, Amanda Fisackerly, will be talking all things Elmbridge Choir and reviewing the papers on the BBC Radio Surrey Breakfast Show.

    Specially invited to join presenter James Cannon between 7.50 and 8.30am, Amanda will be sharing choir news - particularly about our Surrey Day performance at Clifton Nurseries on Saturday - and making a call for new tenors and basses. Plus she’ll be flagging up our two concert appearances in July as well as reviewing the morning news with James.

    What a brilliant opportunity to spread the word about our choir! If you want to listen in, you can find Radio Surrey online HERE or tune in via the BBC Sounds app, digital radio or FM frequencies 104 and 104.6. 

     
  • Fundraising with a heart
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  •  Date Posted: Wed, 20 Apr 2022
    Fundraising with a heart
    How proud are we? Our recent "Walking on Sunshine" concert at Esher Theatre raised £1,100 for local charity, The Grace Dear Trust, and we were delighted to be able to present a whopping cheque to Graham Dear and Hope Dear at our rehearsal this week. 

    The Grace Dear Trust do incredible work to support young people facing mental health challenges in our community and we wish them all the very best. Front and centre to present the cheque were Elmbridge Choir Musical Director, Hugh Beckwith, and Chair, Amanda Fisackerly. 

    After the presentation we sang and ate cake. Lots of cake.
  • Walking on sunshine, indeed!
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  •  Date Posted: Mon, 11 Apr 2022
    Walking on sunshine, indeed!
    Elmbridge Choir was absolutely delighted to take to the stage at Esher Theatre for our "Walking on Sunshine" concert on Saturday 9th April!

    Some beautiful hand made flower corsages brought a touch of spring to our evening of song in aid of local charity, The Grace Dear Trust. The Mayor of Elmbridge, Councillor Tony Popham, joined us afterwards to say a few words of thanks - maybe we can twist his arm into joining us, as we're currently recruiting for new tenors and basses and he is Welsh, so should be able to hold a wonderful tune or two!

    It had been an uplifting night - our first visit to the newly reopened theatre - after two years in which many of our performances had been forced online. For our new members it was their first chance to see what we could do under the wonderful instruction of Musical Director, Hugh Beckwith.

    From the wondrous John Rutter composition, For The Beauty of the Earth, to a jazzy new arrangement of Moondance and on to a spine tingling rendition of Anthem, from the musical Chess, it was a night of unforgettable tunes, lovely harmonies and lots of backstage chatter and fun. We think the audience enjoyed it, too - at least they were calling for more so we think they must have!
  • Read all about it!! We're back in the news!
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  •  Date Posted: Thu, 3 Mar 2022

    We're delighted to see a tw0-page feature about Elmbridge Choir in this month's 'Your Elmbridge' Magazine!

    This great article will hopefully encourage more members of the local community to come and try us out!!

    Click on the image or open the attachment to view the article (pages 8 and 9). You'll notice we get a mention on the front cover too!
     
  • Another Year Over, A New One Just Begun...
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  •  Date Posted: Sun, 9 Jan 2022
    Elmbridge Choir After the Covid-enforced quiet of 2020 and (most of) 2021, the last few months of the year seemed to whizz by in a frenzy of activity!
     
    We resumed face-to-face rehearsals in September, rehearsing enthusiastically for our first public performance in two years. "Voices Together at Christmas" took place in Addlestone Community Centre on Saturday 4th December, performers and audience once again enjoying the thrill of live choral music. Elmbridge Choir's Musical Director, Hugh Beckwith, excelled in his debut public performance, bringing out the very best of the choir and engaging with the audience with charm and humour.


    The concert was shared with Elmbridge Ladies Choir, as well as our guest choir, "We Are The Voice". This children's environmental choir were very well received by us all as they performed a selection of their inspiring and moving original songs about climate change.
    We were delighted to welcome Cllr Elaine Gill, Mayor of Runnymede, and her consort, Harry Gill, and the Mayor and Mayoress of Elmbridge, Councillor Tony Popham and Mrs Jo Wright. Both Mayors spoke passionately about their love of choirs, and said how moved they had been by the children's performance.

    At our final rehearsal of the year (well, more of a social really!) we were pleased to be able to present the concert's retiring collection of £160 to Niamh Clune, the founder of "We Are The Voice", which we hope will enable them to continue singing their incredibly important message.

    Later that week, on a quite gloriously sunny, crisp Winter's day, members of Elmbridge Choir enjoyed a stroll around Painshill Park, followed by a delicious cream tea. Thank you to the social team for organising this Christmas treat!

    The icing on the festive cake was our performance in the streets of Cobham, singing songs from our Christmas repertoire and traditional carols outside Stonehill's Butcher's, entertaining the turkey-collecting crowds and encouraging passers-by to rest for a moment and sing along with us. Despite there being only a handful of singers, those who were there had a lovely time as they sung their hearts out, many of them wistfully remembering singing in the very same place in previous years at the "Cobham at Christmas" events. We've been invited back again next year, so hopefully those who missed this year will be able to join us then.

    And now, we look forward to 2022, with a new rehearsal venue, new songs, new members and an exciting programme of events. Here's hoping that our plans are not interrupted this year, and above all, that we all stay happy and healthy.
    Thank you to Hugh for his enthusiasm, committment and perseverance, to our Management Team for seeing us through some quite tricky and changeable times, and to our members for their continued support, passion and joy which they bring to rehearsal weekly.  And a very happy and tuneful 2022 to all!
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