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June 2016 began with a pair of wonderful concerts in our home venue of Minchinhampton's Holy Trinity Church and, new to us, the magnificence of Malmesbury Abbey. Coupled with the pleasure of the company of large and enthusiastic audiences, this made for a very special weekend for everyone in the choir. The programme got off to an electrifying start with a medley from The Lion King, which was matched by a big crowd-pleasing finale of wonderful songs from another hugely popular show - Les Miserables.
Between them came our usual eclectic mix of sacred, secular, classical, spiritual and popular numbers, amongst which we were proud to showcase three fine arrangements by our accompanist Barrie Cooper: Psalm 23, Sally Gardens and Autumn Leaves (partly in French!). Another highlight for many was the finale of the first half, Tequila Samba, a very infectious number which had choir and audience alike swaying to the Latin beat!
Several of the songs featured soloists from amongst the choir: Steve Hoskin's extended turn as a waiter during the men's number Goodbye from The White Horse Inn being a particular triumph. Several of the songs also featured smaller groups of singers, with Ain't Misbehaving also proving a real audience favourite.
Over the years we have raised over £230,000 in support of local charities and good causes, and it's important to us that we continue to do so from the proceeds of our concerts. This summer we were delighted to help the Marah Trust and the Nephrotic Syndrome Trust.
Our December concerts signal the start of the Christmas season in Minchinhampton, and this year proved no exception with a full house on the Friday night and a well-filled church the next day. Everyone seemed filled with the festive spirit but, to blow away any lurking cobwebs, the exuberant Sir Christèmas kicked off a first half which mixed favourite seasonal songs like Winter Wonderland, with audience carols and, in our homage to traditional Christmas viewing, a spectacular medley of classic Bond film themes.
The Carol of the Six Christmas Bells, by local composer Christopher Boodle was a popular item in the second half, but the hit of the night proved to be the men's spirited rendition of Always look on the Bright Side of Life, complete with whistling, which on Friday earned an immediate encore! The penultimate Twelve Days after Christmas, featuring grisly fates for both the partridge and its pear tree, not to mention the turtle doves and swimming swans, proved another big hit, and the evening was rounded off by A Christmas Promise, in the final line of which we were able to wish our audiences "Merry Christmas, One and All".
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