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Chairman's Annual Report to the Charity Commission from Wendover Choral Society's Financial Statement for the year ended 30th June 2023.

 

Wendover Choral Society was formed in 1961 to offer opportunities to the local community to study and perform classical choral works under an experienced professional conductor and choir master. We became registered with the Charities Commission as a Charitable Association in 2005. 

 

In our second full season of performance since the Covid lockdowns, the choir has put on two exceptional and highly contrasting concerts which have proved both exciting for the choir and have drawn great accolades from our audiences.

 

The choice of Handel’s Messiah for our Christmas concert on 3rd December 2022 was a popular one which was aimed at encouraging back a wider audience. It proved the perfect choice with 190 tickets sold and the venue fully packed. Four brilliant young Josephine Baker Trust soloists from the Royal Academy of Music and the award-winning Brook Street Band inspired and lifted our performance. 

 

The second concert, A Springtime Celebration, on 29th April was no less successful, despite a smaller audience of 110. The programme was a mixed and challenging one for our singers and included classical and jazz choral music by Vivaldi and Chilcott, as well as folk songs by Grainger and a fabulous choice of music by Jim Parker for the highly skilful brass ensemble from the Royal Academy of Music. The evening was further enhanced by virtuoso playing and singing by organist, Adrian Bawtree and tenor, Anando Mukerjee. 

 

Post Covid, the choir’s membership has increased to 47 singers who have participated in 27 weekly rehearsals this season. The society is inclusive and open to all ages and abilities and does not audition prospective members. We promote the physical and mental benefits which singing provides as well as offering a safe and friendly social evening once a week and the opportunity to perform to a high level with outstanding guest soloists. In the past year we have offered free membership to two Ukrainian refugees who now live in Wendover. 

 

In addition, this summer we also ran a three-week series of vocal workshops with the energetic and encouraging Kenton Brigden, Music Director of St Mary’s Parish Church, Aylesbury. These were advertised to and attended by both members and non-members and proved to be a remarkable and inspiring experience for everyone who attended. The series was thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

 

This year we have also arranged with the help of the Wendover Community Car for musically inclined members of the public who have mobility issues to be brought to our concert day rehearsals. This initiative has been warmly received and much appreciated. 

 

Wendover Choral Society is proud to support young professional musicians who are completing their musical training by giving them the opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra to an appreciative audience. It seems even more vital to provide these opportunities in this post-Covid period when the music industry is struggling to thrive. 

 

We continue to employ Peter Bassano as our Musical Director. Anna Le Hair has enjoyed a very successful first season with us as accompanist. We are extremely grateful to both for the professionalism and support they offer. Our concerts, workshops and most rehearsals are held in the beautiful St Mary’s Church, Wendover which has very fine acoustics which are appreciated and commented on by our guest singers and musicians. 

 

Thanks are due to all the committee who have worked tirelessly to make rehearsals and concerts work smoothly. We are also grateful not only to the seven choir members who have stepped up to take on specific roles and duties in the past year, but also to all our members who demonstrate a general level of willingness to give of their time and resources which has been exceptional. 

September 2023

We were delighted to hear that the wonderful bass-baritone, Michael Ronan, who sang with us in our December 2022 Messiah, has been awarded the Glyndebourne John Christie Award. Congratulations, Michael!

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