|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!
|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
|For more information, see:||https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/cobham/acs-international-school-cobham/concert-for-refugees/2022-07-03/17:00/t-rplpjkr|
|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.|
|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.”
|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.
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.
|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.
|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!
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!
|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!
|Our first physical rehearsal together in nearly 18 months this week was a joyous occasion! We felt safe, we felt happy, and we were over the moon to finally meet our new MD Hugh Beckwith who was absolutely brilliant and had us enthralled from start to finish! As one member enthused, “Hugh is a wonderful conductor and music flows out from every pore. I think we all left floating on air! Here’s to the next rehearsal!”|
With Covid safety measures in place - double vaccines, lateral flow tests, registration, masks, ventilation, distancing etc - our members were more than ready to return to choir this week, however, for the first few weeks at least we will be splitting the choir into two halves, with each 'choir' rehearsing on alternate weeks. Hopefully we will get the go ahead soon for us to meet 'as one' We have several potential new members eager to join us and we very much look forward to welcoming them to a rehearsal soon. We are also looking forward to starting preparations for our Christmas concert on Saturday 4th December at Addlestone Community Centre.