of 2008 ........................................................BACK
first two months of the New Year were, as usual, used mostly for
learning new songs and polishing up old ones. The Choir made two
concert appearances. The first of these was with Stithians Ladies
Choir for a Sankey Evening at the Methodist Church in St. Just (Penwith).
This is about as far west as possible in Cornwall and extends our
range in the county from St. Just to Kilkhampton. We had a good
audience and a fine tea in a beautiful church. This is a large church
and the membership there make strenuous efforts to keep it in good
order. It was ironic that the concert had to be cut short two hymns
from the end when the power failed - this means lights, our electric
piano and the organ! The vote of thanks was given in near darkness
and we sang our last hymn as planned God be with you till we meet
again accompanied by a traditional piano. The Choir's Annual Dinner
was held at the Green Lawns Hotel, Falmouth with 105 members and
guests attending. It was admirably organised by David Dower with
our Chairman, Frank Hugo, acting as Master of Ceremonies. Alastair
Taylor was our guest speaker who, after a hilarious 'speech', finished
off with 3 numbers on the piano - a most unusual and sparkling addition
to the evening's entertainment.
Our second concert of the year was another unusual event. Billed
as Voices of Angels, we hosted the new Cornwall Boys' Choir for
its first public concert. This choir was developed out of an initiative
of the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival 2007. The choir,
which is composed of boys aged between 7 and 14, is directed by
Angela Renshaw. Our two choirs shared the concert and combined to
sing Proper Job! as a finale. The Boys put on a fine performance
beating us 3 - 1 in the singing of foreign language numbers. Proceeds
were for the Precious Lives project (Children's Hospice South West)
and we are pleased to report that the proceeds totalled over £1175.
We stress the huge contribution of our visiting Choir, both in attracting
a large audience and for their musical contribution.
The Choir was involved in a series of joint concerts in April. First,
we were the guests of Mousehole MVC at Richmond Methodist Church,
Penzance. The next outing was to the other end of the County at
Launceston Central Methodist Church for a concert which included
singing some Sankey hymns and sharing the programme with Bude Metric
Band. The following week we were guests (with Mousehole MVC) of
the City of Truro Choir. This 'Three Choirs Concert' was held in
St. Mary's Methodist Church, Truro. The compère was Tiffany
Truscott of Radio Cornwall who was pleased to give some more publicity
to the Precious Lives Appeal, the beneficiaries of the collection
at the end of the concert. The next major event for the choir was
the rehearsing and recording BBC TV's Songs of Praise from Truro
Cathedral in May. Some 550 singers were involved. Our Choir has
recorded before - both locally and for BBC and ITV - but this was
perhaps bigger than most of us had experienced. Lights, camera,
action - again please - and again
quite an experience!
The Choir was invited by St. Stythians Band to perform at Falmouth's
Princess Pavilion on Sunday 1st June. This was such a successful
evening that we did it all again on Sunday 29th June - this time
with a Songs of Praise feature. Between these two band concerts
in June, we gave a concert at the delightful Crowan Parish Church.
We were well received there by a good audience. We next appeared
at the prestigious Gwennap Church series of Wednesday evening concerts
on 2nd July.
A major event of 2008 was the Choir's tour to South Wales. A total
of 87 folk departed for Llanelli in two coaches on the morning of
Friday 25th July. Ystradgynlais is at the head of the Swansea Valley,
nestling under the western end of the Brecon Beacons. The main concert
of the tour was held that evening to a capacity audience in St.
Cynog's (Parish) Church. This we shared with Ystradgynlais MVC.
Our part of the performance including the singing of the lullaby
Suo Gân (in Welsh). On the return journey we called in at
Cheriton Bishop, Devon to give an afternoon concert in memory of
Tom Penaluna, a founder member of the Choir.
Shortly after our return, the Choir shared a concert with Hayle-Praze,
Marazion and Treverva MVCs at the Hayle Festival (Heylfest) and
three days later we were out again for the St. Stythians Band 80th
Anniversary Concert at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth. The Band
generously made this a celebration of Music in Stithians, inviting
the Ladies Choir and the Male Voice Choir to share it with them.
The delightful Chynhale Methodist Church near Helston was our next
venue. This was originally the Trevarno Estate Chapel. It is a good
place to sing and our soloist, soprano Alison Harvey, made the most
of it. The next day we fulfilled our only engagement for the year
at the Princess Pavilion patio in Falmouth. The very popular violin
and piano duo, John and Rosemary Heard were our guest artistes.
Our Annual Gala Concert was held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Falmouth
on 4th October. Our guests were Alastair Taylor's Redruth Amateur
Operatic Society Trust (RAOST) Youth Choir. These children added
an extra dimension to the concert. They respond with great enthusiasm
to their conductor and it was a real pleasure to watch Alastair
at work with them. Our compère was Bruce Taylor of Miller
Countrywide. He was an excellent Chairman and he also arranged the
printing of our programmes and posters. The following week we were
at Trewoon, near St. Austell. Our soloist was the young soprano,
Francesca (Frankie) Addy. The BBC Songs of Praise from Truro Cathedral
was screened on 2nd November. Our choir was asked to form the three
front rows. This put us directly in the Conductor's line of fire
and we seemed to respond to this, singing with energy. The choir
participated, as last year, in the Trelawny Challenge organised
by the Federation of Cornish MVCs for BBC's Children in Need. The
following Sunday we were at Redruth Methodist Church with Camborne
Band for a Remembrance service.
Christmas then took over. The Stithians Methodist Church Carol Concert
featuring St. Stythians MVC and Stithians Ladies' Choir was held
on Sunday 7th December. Carols at the Village Hall followed on Tuesday
16th December. Two days later we repeated last year's visit to the
Culdrose Community Centre. This serves the families of the naval
personnel and at one point we had eleven children singing with us.
We were pleased to welcome a total of seven new members to the choir
and our membership in 2008 numbered 50 - a record. We are also delighted
to welcome J. C. Williams and Son (House Furnishers) of Meneage
Street, Helston as our major sponsors and we thank the company for
this important contribution to our efforts and to choral music in
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