Our third musical bite of the 2010/11 season of coffee mornings with a musical theme was a choral workshop conducted by James Wharton, with piano accompaniment by Andrew Storer. Once again the participants turned up to learn and perform 3 pieces in 2 1/2 hours. The main item was a repeat of last year's 'Hallelujah Chorus', however James had also chosen the Advent carol 'I look from afar' (Willcocks/Rutter) and Palestrina's lovely 'Magnificat' (which was the inspiration for 'I look from afar'). This last piece was definitely the most challenging as James explained to the audience at 12 noon, when the scratch choir performed.

We had fewer singers this year than last year (40 people), however the enthusiasm was great with a quick run through of the Hallelujah Chorus to warm up (most had sung it before), and they made short work of learning the advent anthem before embarking on the more difficult Palestrina.  There was a steady stream of people coming in to partake of the delicious refreshments throughout the morning, and more came to listen to the performance at 12 noon.

David S had done the 'lion's share of the organisation' (to quote James) of the event, and others who helped make it run smoothly were Dai, Dave, Marian, Sylvia, Shirley, Fiona and Nina - thank you all so much for such brilliant team work.  We did the piano key raffle again, and I took photos and filmed some of the performance.  The Hallelujah Chorus was sung in aid of the Friends of Willen Hospice and the collection raised £52.59.

The refreshments, raffle and donations raised £321.80 for the grand piano fund, which meant that the piano total stood at £4,279.19, therefore £720.81 was still outstanding.  However after the event David S reported to me that the anonymous donor of the original interest free loan of £5,000 for the piano has decided to write off the remainder of the debt, which is a fantastically generous donation!  This means that the remaining 3 musical bites (handbells on 8th January, apprentice to the band on 19th February and Jazz workshop on 19th March) are all now devoted to the organ fund, which is wonderful.

This year has been overwhelmingly busy for the organ fund team - we've raised a lot of money for both the organ and the piano funds.  I'm pleased to announce that there is now over £40,000 in the organ fund, after 4 years of fund-raising, which is a super achievement and the Parochial Church Council have contracted FH Browne & Sons of Kent to completely refurbish the organ console during the first half of next year.  The remainder of the work will hopefully be carried out the following year, however we still have a lot of money to raise in order to achieve this aim.  Please continue supporting events for the organ fund, and sponsor pipes too.

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