By Andrew Gordon - 2nd December 2018 12:30pm
Followers of the Witchert Chorale have come to expect an evening of first class music with a mix of well-loved and recondite numbers delivered with the group's trade-mark humour and sparkle. Saturday's Christmas concert in St Mary's was no exception.
It was to be an evening of Handel and his contemporaries, than which, with this group in that setting, a more delightful prospect could hardly be imagined. The added bit of fun this year was the arresting theme: 'When Handel came to Haddenham...'. This was a story, written and told by Ed Cairns, spun out between musical numbers and thoroughly engaging if only for the bits of eighteenth century local history worked in.
The canard should have been spotted by historians (but not this one) from the dates in 1752, which never existed, any more than Handel's visit, having been eliminated when Britain belatedly joined the rest of Europe in adopting the Gregorian calendar.
But, as Ed observed, we were there for the music.
To listen to the eighteenth century harmonies from this well-blended, spirited but disciplined choir, wonderfully accompanied by the 4-member Witchert Ensemble, was as uplifting as ever and would have soothed the most troubled soul.
The programme included some pieces intended for very large choirs, such as the Coronation Anthems and the splendid Worthy is the Lamb from the Messiah, and it was remarkable how these numbers took new life from this small group, of 18, singing with such intimacy and pin-sharp accuracy.
While Handel dominated the programme, there was an outstanding piece from an older composer, Henry Purcell. The crescendo at the end of his Hear my Prayer, for its sheer beauty of sound and in the setting of St Mary's, will for many have been the emotional high point of the evening.
After the singing there were heartfelt farewells to Alison Court, who, with director David Quinn, founded the Witchert Chorale in 2004 and who (with Ed's constant support) has always been the chief animator of the group and author of its distinct personality. The batten passes to Ann Millar, organiser of this year's concert (a triumph).
Proceeds from the concert, very well attended as usual, will go to the Haddenham Village Society and to Friends of St Mary's.
Click on any of the images featured on this page to view an enlarged version. There are more photos to enjoy in the GALLERIES section of this website.
popular recent storiesAlso in the news
Haddenham Scarecrow Festival Open Monday 1st to Sunday 14th JuneTHANK YOU to everyone who has entered this year's Haddenham Association of Scouts & Guides' Scarecrow Festival. We have had a fantastic response with a record breaking 127 entries from all over Haddenham!! Our previous average has been 58 entries, with the highest number in 2018 of 71. In these very challenging times...
The end of May 2020 sees Robyn Thorogood retire after 27 years of managing Snakemoor Local Nature Reserve. Here he reflects on those years of service to the local communityIn 1993 Haddenham Parish Council (HPC) persuaded me to take on the management of Snakemoor but more about this later. Firstly, how did it all start?It was in 1987 that a few villagers visited Aylesbury Vale District...
Are you experiencing domestic abuse, or are you worried about a family member, friend, neighbour or colleague?On Thursday evening, 28th May, between 6pm — 8pm, Thames Valley Police and support organisations will be holding a live Domestic Abuse Q&A session on the TVP Engage website: www.tvpengage.co.ukYou can send us your questions on the TVP Engage website and...