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Singing for Charity & Pleasure

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Sheilagh Armitt
'Come & Sing' 2015
Colin Spinks

Haddenham St Mary's Church was filled with the delightful sounds of a pastoral opera on Saturday evening, 18th April, as its wonderful acoustic provided the perfect setting for Handel's Acis & Galatea.

The 'Come & Sing' event was organised by professional singer and Haddenham resident, Sheilagh Armitt, as a fundraiser for Cancer Research UK and as an opportunity for a 'pop up choir' of very capable amateur singers to join together for one just afternoon and an evening in the performance of this pinnacle of English pastoral opera.

The performance was conducted by Ian Westley, with Sheilagh Armitt, 'Galatea', a sea nymph — soprano; David Walder, 'Acis', a shepherd — tenor; Matt Bernstein, 'Polythemus', a giant — bass; Sue Edmonds — flute; and Colin Spinks — organ.

'Come & Sing' is now in its tenth year and over that time the initiative has provided entertainment and pleasure for singers and audience alike. Ian Westley has conducted all ten sessions, working with the choir during the afternoon and providing a performance to an audience who are invited to experience the results of the day's work for free.

Fundraising for charity is achieved through a modest fee paid by each of the singers and by audience contributions to a retiring collection. The performance of Handel's Acis & Galatea raised over £500 for Cancer Research UK and provided a truly uplifting and memorable experience for residents and visitors to Haddenham — a cultural highlight in the events diary of this busy village.

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