Debut looms for new community choir

New choir
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The big moment is nearly here for the new Midhurst Community Choir – their inaugural concert on Saturday, July 22 at 7.30pm at Midhurst Parish Church.

As founder and musical director Yvonne Warren says, it’s a chance to hear what the choir has achieved in just five short months: “I have been involved with the Midhurst Players and Madhurst for many years, and we have been doing a cabaret for Madhurst. It always goes down very well, and we have such wonderful talent in Midhurst. I just thought ‘When you think of what we achieve with just ten people, what could we achieve with 20 or 30 or 40?’

“The last cabaret we did was last September, and I thought we should think about setting up a choir. I held a public meeting last October to gauge interest. 60 people came to that. A lot of people said they were very interested. And then somebody suggested we apply for lottery funding, which we did and we got it. A couple of thousand pounds, I think. That meant we were able to buy our own keyboard, and it also helped us to buy music, and we have also got a pianist we have to pay, and it has helped us with sound equipment. It all really helped set us up. We held workshops in January and February just to get people to come along and see what it was all about. We started in March when we got the funding confirmed, and now I run it with my daughter Jessica.”

And now comes the first concert. It will feature 38 of the 60 people registered for the choir: “Some people dip in and out, and some people are a little bit nervous about performing for the first time.”

“There will be eight numbers for the full choir including a Queen medley, A Thousand Years, Adiemus, Rolling In The Deep, a Les Mis medley, Fix You, Run and You’ll Never Walk Alone. In between the full choir numbers, there will be solos, duets and ensemble pieces from some of the choir’s more experienced members.

As she approaches it all, Yvonne admits to feeling “a glorious mixture of absolute delight and terror: “A lot of people in the choir have performed in one format or another before, but so many people have not performed at all. But the beauty of a choir is that you have got safety in numbers, and that makes a lot of people feel happier about wanting to perform. And we have got such a lovely programme we have put together. And people have worked so hard. A lot of people have been putting in a lot of extra practice. It has been such a joy to watch them grow in confidence and to hear the wonderful sound they are making. When I held the open meeting, one of the things I expressed was the hope that it will all help people to meet together socially and also the fact that it helps in so many ways with depression or mental illness. It also helps people who have been physically ill.” Tickets are available at The Olive & Vine in Midhurst or on the door and are priced £10.

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