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A Concert for the Christmas Season

 
 
 

On the 8th December 2012 Finham Choral Society were getting into the Christmas mood with our concert at Warwick Rd United Reform Church. What better way to celebrate the Advent Season than with a selection of choruses from Handel's Messiah, including 'Hallelujah' of course.

After the interval we performed some of the more traditional Christmas songs and carols, we let the audience help us out with a few of those. Three amusing readings were read including Sandra doing her account of a Yorkshire farmer's first visit to a performance of the Messiah. There were a few smiles amongst the choir members when she returned to her place and had to be reminded to remove her flat cap.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from Finham Choral Society

Warwick Rd URC
 
 
 
 
 

The Wedding of Jemma and Alfie

 
 
 
 

The 3rd November 2012 was a very special day for one young couple, Jemma and Alfie, as they exchanged their wedding vows at Holy Trinity Church, Coventry.

Finham Choral Society had the pleasure to sing for them 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' and 'Ave Maria' (Schubert) and joined in with family and friends for the other hymns

We all wish them every happiness and success
in their future life together

 
 
 
 
 

A Blast with Blaze

 
 
 

On the 5th September 2012 Finham Choral Society were again invited to sing the National Anthem at the start of the Coventry Blaze ice hockey match at Planet Ice, Coventry Skydome. We climbed onto a stand about 1.2 meters high so our voices could be projected over the perspex safety barriers. At 7.30 the Coventry Blaze and Cardiff Devils lined up on the ice; the lights were dimmed; the ceremonial 'dropping of the puck' took place; and the choir sang the National Anthem in four parts conducted by Tim Campain.

 
 

With a mighty roar from the crowd and an explosion of activity on the ice the match was started. The Cardiff Devils scored in the first period; Blaze equalized in the second period. Then 3.33 into the third period the Devils got another goal (I though the devil's number was 666?). Coventry Blaze kept us on the edge of our seats leaving it to the last second of the match to score the equalizer making it a 2 - 2 draw. I am sure the choir could learn something about timing from that!

You have to admire the dedication of some choir members who turned out to sing but whose commitments meant they couldn't stay for the match, like leaving your wife sat in the car waiting to be taken out for your wedding anniversary meal. On the other hand I did find one choir member who was born in Cardiff and decided to support the rivals, sorry Blaze, we won't let it happen again. But seriously a big thank you to Coventry Blaze and Finham Choral Society members for making it a memorable evening.

 
 
 
 
 

The Organ - 50th Anniversary

 
 
 

On the 14th July 2012 Finham Choral Society accepted an invitation from Hearsall Baptist Church to sing in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the church organ. The organ was built by Nelson & Co of Durham and installed in Hearsall Baptist church in 1962, just one year after the new church opened. 50 years later the organ is still impressing it's audiance with full chords on the Great and poignant harmonies on the Swell.

We opened with 'Our thanksgiving song to God' - Haydn and continued with what must be Bach's best known piece for voice and organ, 'Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring'. After a few more traditional choral and organ pieces we decided to get the audience on their feet to join us in 'At the Name of Jesus'. Well they had been let in for FREE it was only right we should make them sing for their supper. So we made them sing 'O Praise Ye the Lord' as well.

 
 

Tim Campain peformed two organ solos:

  • Suite in D ---- John Stanley
  • Adagio in E --- Frank Bridge

I have it on good authority that this was done in stocking feet. I never realised that organ playing was one of those occupations that you have to ask yourself each morning "Have I got clean socks on?"

Tim 'pulled out all the stops' to show us that the organ has still got it after all these years and to ensure that the music reverberated to our very core.

 
 

Ladi Merriman-Johnson conducted us with his usual uncompromising energy, so much so. you can see in the photo, his arm is just a blur! This might be because he was conducting the 'Little Organ Mass' - Haydn at the time. In order to write a short version of the mass without leaving out any of the salient parts, Haydn wrote some of the movements with the different voices singing completely different words and tunes but all coming together magnificently. I hope your conducting arm has recovered Ladi.

We finished off the evening with a collection for Alzheimerís Society (Reg. Charity 296645) and raised nearly £270 which the choir has agreed to raise to £300. Many thanks to members of the audience and choir for your donations.

 
 
 
 
 

Jubilee Concert

 
 
 

On the 12th May 2012 we were back at West Orchard URC for a 'Jubilee Concert' to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee marking 60 years of the Queen's reign with a selection of patriotic English tunes to stir the emotions.

The first half of the concert was accompanied by Tim Campain on the organ, and he was joined in the second half by the Edsel Ensemble.

We opened with a rousing performance of Zadok the Priest, one of the anthems originally performed at the Coronation of King George II in October 1727. This was followed by the quiet contrast of Elgar's Ave Verum. This was amongst a number of choral pieces which Elgar referred to as 'Tender little plants'.

We included two of the pieces sung at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton last year:

  • I Was Glad.
  • Blest Pair of Sirens.

 

 
 

The orchestra opened the second half with Nimrod from Elgarís Enigma Variations which is definitely one to tear at the heartstrings of every British patriot, and lovers of beautiful music.

Ladi Merriman Johnson´s superbly controlled direction held it all together "in perfect diapason", and if conducting the choir, organ and orchestra wasnít enough he wanted to give everyone the opportunity to show they are proud to be British by getting the audience on their feet to join in the singing in three of the numbers culminating with the National Anthem.

Letís all fly the flag and hope this is going to be a good year for The Queen and the Country.

 
 
 
 
 

Night of Miracles

 
 
 

On the 17th December 2011 we performed our Carol Concert at West Orchard URC, Coventry. Included in our programme was 'Night of Miracles' a Christmas cantata written by John W. Peterson in 1958. It tells the story of Christmas by a sequence of movements separated by the appropriate readings from mostly Matthew and Luke. The tempo and mood of the music changed to reflect the mothers tenderness; the humility of the shepherds; the grandeur of the Kings; and the joy at seeing the star almost had choir and audience swaying in time.

The second half of the programme included the more traditional carols, some of which the audience joined in. In Good King Wenceslas the ladies and the gents sang different parts of the verse, I am sure I heard a few tenors out there who should come and join us.

We ended the evening with tea, coffee and mince pies, and the chance to wish our friends in the choir and the audience a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

 
 
 
 
 

Christmas at Shifnal

 
 
   
 

On the 10th December 2011 Finham Choral Society gave a concert at Trinity Methodist Church, Shifnal. Everyone had fingers crossed for this one as last year we had to cancel due to snow. This year the climate was kinder to us and 'the show could go on'. We boarded the coach at 4.15, everyone was early, and we set off to the Shropshire countryside. We were met with a warm welcome at Shifnal and an enjoyable cup of tea/coffee. Then it was a quick warm up before the main event.

We opened with 'Once in Royal David's City', which gave the audience a chance to warm up too. We continued with a mixture of choral pieces, traditional carols and readings.

 
 

Now I am not saying he did it on purpose but Ladi Merriman-Johnson, our conductor who set the programme, decided which pieces would be accompanied by the organ and which on the piano. This meant that Tim Campain, the accompanist added further entertainment for the audience by having to run backwards and forwards between the organ and the piano. I hope he had an extra mince pie in compensation. (Tim has since owned up to being responsible for deciding on piano or organ accompaniment so he only has himself to blame).

We finished off the evening with another cup of tea and homemade mince pies, scones, and sausage rolls kindly provided by the Shifnal team. The concert was in aid of the Shifnal Organ Refurbishment Fund so I hope our contribution was useful and wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

Finally, a big thank you to Roy for sending us the photo above and this Youtube link.
Finham Choral Society singing at Shifnal

 
 
 
 
 

Music for an Autumn Evening

 
 
 

On the 22nd October 2011 Finham Choral Society took to the road and travelled to the Staffordshire countryside to perform in Gnosall Methodist Church. This was in response to a long standing invitation to come and sing. Ladi had therefore selected a programme to demonstrate the choirs varied repertoire from religious to secular; modern to traditional; songs of Love, Humour and Praise; in English Latin and even Italian!

Half way through, the choir had a chance to take the weight off their feet and along with the audience enjoy two pieces performed on the organ by Tim Campain

  • Suite Gothique - Priere a Notre Dame, by Leon Boellmann.
  • Suite Gothique - Toccata, by Leon Boellmann.

If the good people of Gnosall were entertained by our singing, Finham Choir members were equally as impressed with the warm, friendly welcome and the hospitality shown to us by Rev. Ken Wilkins and his helpers.

Just one problem, with sandwiches and cakes that good, we might be back.

 
Gnosall Methodist Church
 
 
 
 
 

Murder, Mystery and Mayhem!

 
 
 

The cast: Asipita, Roy, Mary, Allan, Ken, Alan, Jeanette, Cathy, Jane, Frances, Linda. Director - Ladi.

 

It was the 8th October 2011, or was it May 1974?, when a number of our members put on a Murder Mystery at Hearsall Baptist Church

The shady past of the unfortunate victim had caught up with him and he had accumulated an entire cast of enemies over the years. With lies, bribes, bodily harm, theft, revenge and greed we bamboozled the audience with a variety of clues and motives.

The case was no match for the inspectors who soon began to unravel the web our suspects had spun.

 
 

A break for a fish 'ní chips supper gave our amateur sleuths the opportunity to mull over the clues but only one team got the right answer for murderer and accomplice.

A big thank you for all involved in putting this production on and to those who came to see us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Beware! These characters are still at large.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Choral Pops

 
 
 

On the 16th July 2011 at West Orchard URC, Finham Choral Society made a change to their usual more formal selection of music by delivering 'Choral Pops' a mixture of popular songs taken from the stage and shows.

The songs were choral versions of songs taken from shows spanning the entire twentieth century. Our performance was enhanced by the inclusion of several numbers by two promising young vocalists:

      • Lauren Key
      • Ross Hadley

Variety was introduced to the accompaniment by Tim Campain alternating between piano and organ and one of the songs was performed to a backing tape.

We hope the audience enjoyed listening to the songs as much as we enjoyed performing them.

 

 
 
 
 
 

50 Happy Years for Sandra and Derek

 
 
   
 
 

On the 9th April 2011 Finham Choral Society had the pleasure to sing for Sandra and Derek on their Golden Wedding Anniversary as they reaffirmed their vows at Hearsall Baptist Church

The choir sang 'For The Beauty of The Earth' and 'A Gaelic Blessing' and joined in with family and friends for the hymns

Sandra and Derek invited us to join them for a buffet lunch and refreshments afterwards complete with a replica of their original Wedding Cake.

Cheers! Here's to the next 50 years.

 
 
 
 
 

Farewell Francine

 
 
 

On the 4th January 2011 Finham Choral Society had the sad duty to sing extracts from John Rutter's Requiem at St Thomas More RC Church for the requiem mass of Francine Barlow who died suddenly on 28th November 2010. Francine was one of the founder members of Finham Choral Society over 30 years ago. On the 19th March Finham gave a concert in Memory of Francine at St Thomas More RC Church. The works performed were:

        • Faure's Requiem
        • Vivaldi's Gloria

Francine herself had frequently told Ladi how well she thought these two works would compliment each other so they were an obvious choice for this concert in her memory.

Francine was a scholar of Maths and Physics and a lover of music. Proceeds from this concert and donations from her many friends will be put towards a music bursary at Warwick University in her memory.

 

 
 
 
 
 

A Crowning Glory

 
 
 

On the 23rd October 2010 Finham Choral Society gave a concert at West Orchard United Reformed church where we performed, at long last, three of Handel's Coronation Anthems.

          • Coronation Anthem No.1: Zadok the Priest
          • Coronation Anthem No.3: The King Shall Rejoice
          • Coronation Anthem No.4: My Heart is Inditing

I say at long last because this is the performance originally scheduled for 17th July but postponed due to building work at the church. These Anthems are no strangers to hiccoughs as there are reports that their first performance at the Coronation of King George II in October 1727 did not go well. Thankfully Finham Choral Society with the able accompaniment of the Edsel Ensemble where able to put on a better performance on our night.

We opened with Zadok the Priest, the gentle stirring of the strings and long sustained crescendo before the choir burst in at full volume. This was followed by My Heart is Inditing, a more refined genteel anthem befitting the queen's coronation. The choir had a break and where able to enjoy along with the audience, a superb performance by the orchestra and two talented young violinists accompanied by the equally talented Pamela Greenway on piano.

      • Meditation from Thais - Massenet
        Alison Milnes - Violin     Pamela Greenway - Piano
      • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - K525 - Mozart
        1st movement - Edsel Ensemble
      • Concerto Grosso in D minor Op3 Nr.11 - Vivaldi
        Alison Milnes & Julianne Bourne - Violins     Pamela Greenway - piano

The choir and orchestra finished with the King Shall Rejoice. We started full of festive pomp, danced in triple time through the middle movements and for the grand finale an exuberant Allelujah with parts carrying different melodies simultaneously pitted against each other. An elaborate conclusion to the Coronation and for our concert too.

 
 
 
 
 

A Blaze of Glory

 
 
 

On the 29th September 2010 Finham Choral Society, Coventry embarked on a new adventure. At the invitation of the local ice hockey team, Coventry Blaze, we sang the National Anthem at the start of their Wednesday night match at Planet Ice, Coventry Skydome. We stood huddled by the two open doors on the edge of the ice, heads held high (in the direction of the microphone) as Paul gave us our note and our voices carried across the ice to the waiting audience of nearly 1000. We sang loud and clear in four parts and were met by a huge cheer at the end. With little more than a minute of performance time over we stayed to watch the match and were treated to a spectacle on ice and a 6 - 3 home win for Blaze. An enjoyable and pleasing evening all round.

 


 
 
 
 
 

Our 30th Year

 
 
   
 

On the 15th May 2010 we held a concert at St Mary Magdalen Church to celebrate 30 years since the founding of Finham Choral Society, Coventry. We performed Haydn's Little Organ Mass and Schubert's Mass in G, assisted by three young soloists Sara Whichelow (Soprano), James Hall (Tenor) and Volker Betz (Bass) and accompanied by Colin Druce on the organ, The two pieces were skillfully linked together by Pamela Greenway performing a selection of Franz Schubert's Dances on the piano. That is to say playing the piano, not dancing on it!

 
 

You know you have given a good performance when the conductor is happy and as Ladi greeted each choir member back stage with a kiss for the ladies and a hand shake for the gents it was clear we had produced something special.

Voices were not the only things raised on the night as after the concert, we made our way to the adjacent hall to enjoy an excellent buffet supper and a glass of wine. Our thanks go to Jean and Margaret for all the organisation and it's a good job they knew their parts or we wouldn't have let them pop out during rehearsals to collect the food.

"You looked good and
sounded fantastic"  
Jane   

 
 

No celebration would be complete without a cake and we have John Tilley to thank for the personalised piece of art he created to fill that requirement. The best news being it tasted as good as it looked.

At times like this it is nice to get a bit nostalgic so we had invited past members to join our celebration in recognition of their help in making Finham Choral Society what it is today. About twentyfive accepted the invitation and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the evening catching up with old acquaintances. Peter and Judith Calow who were among the founder members of the choir back in the early 80's had travelled the furthest, all the way from Yorkshire, so we gave them the honour of cutting the cake.

Congratulations, Finham Choral Society,
Here's to the next thirty years.

 
 
 
 
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Registered Charity Number 1143877