St. George’s, Ivychurch
“Come, Celebrate The Harvest” was the title of our September Concert in the wondrous “Cathedral of the Marsh” which is St. George’s in Ivychurch. Under the musical direction of Stephen Pusey and accompanied by Kevin Bull, the Singers embraced the nave acoustics with enthusiasm.
The programme included both sacred and secular items, triggering the following audience comment, “As soon as I saw the programme you’d put together for us tonight, I knew I’d done the right thing in coming!”
The programme began with David Evans’ Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord, followed by Anton Bruckner’s Locus Iste, a favourite with the Singers. Next was Thomas Campian’s Never Weather Beaten Sail.
Andy Walton began the evening’s selected readings with The Way Through The Woods by Rudyard Kipling.
Cecil Sharp’s Among The Leaves So Green heralded a change of musical mood and the Singers continued the folk song theme with John Rutter’s arrangement of O Waly, Waly, another favourite and then David Willcocks’ arrangement of Early One Morning.
Elizabeth Bishop’s powerful poem I Am In Need Of Music was read by Francine Rumball before the Singers continued with John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You, and then Bob Chilcott’s Irish Blessing. Howard Goodall’s The Lord Is My Shepherd brought the first part of the evening to a close, with many smiles as the theme from The Vicar Of Dibley was recognised by the audience.
After the Interval, the Singers performed two of Stephen Pusey’s own arrangements for us, Swing Low Sweet Chariot and Kumbaya. Alan Simmons’ arrangement of the ever-popular Give Me That Old Time Religion concluded the next part of the programme.
Rachel Heinrichsmeier read In Romney Marsh by John Davidson, taking us back to our local surroundings. Rehearsing John Rutter’s Let’s Begin Again had often made us smile at the lyrics, “So can we get it right, this time? Possibly.” but this time, it was all right on the night! George & Ira Gershwin’s Our Love Is Here To Stay was next and then Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of the (London)Derry Air, which particularly resonated with a very appreciative member of the audience from Ireland and is another of our favourites.
Kevin Bull’s solo item is always eagerly anticipated by the Singers. His superb performance of the A. E. Houseman poem, Is My Team Ploughing? stilled the air, leaving everyone moved. The text, from the poet’s 1896 collection A Shropshire Lad was set to music by George Butterworth, who had died on the Somme in 1916.
Martin Vink read John Clare’s poem, Pleasant Sounds, which served to introduce our transition to more contemporary items. The Singers always enjoy performing Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair by Stephen Foster and then Andrew Carter’s arrangement of the Forster/Shearing’ Lullaby of Birdland, which followed. Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Richard Leigh brought the evening to a close.
We were delighted to have helped raise £325 to support St George’s. According to the hardworking Churchwardens, a space heater, to take the chill off the church will be a most welcome acquisition. A closing observation, from two audience members, not in choirs themselves, was that they would not often attend concerts as they didn’t really consider themselves “musical” but tonight they didn’t feel “excluded” and had very much enjoyed themselves.
What we will keep a secret, though, is an audience member’s praise for our male voice parts, who said they were wonderful to hear!
Harvest Festival – St. George’s, Ivychurch
Saturday 28th September 7:30pm
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Appledore Concert April 2019
St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Appledore hosted our Spring Concert, where Musical Director Stephen Pusey and Accompanist Kevin Bull guided us through a mixed programme of choral pieces and selected readings. The Singers were very pleased to have been invited to perform and delighted to have helped raise £430 for the Church.
The Concert opened with David Evans’ Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord, followed by Elgar’s As Torrents In Summer, then Thomas Campian’s Never Weather Beaten Sail.
John Masefield’s The West Wind was the first reading of the evening, given by Michael Steed, before the Singers resumed with John Weelkes’ Let Thy Merciful Ears, O Lord. Continuing the musical programme was Mozart’s Ave Verum and Bruckner’s Locus Iste before Nick Hudd’s reading of Dylan Thomas’s In My Craft Or Sullen Art.
A swift change of choral style then arrived with the traditional Dashing Away, and O Waly, Waly, both arranged by John Rutter. In between these two folk songs, the Singers performed David Willcocks’ arrangement of Early One Morning.
After the Interval, during which everyone enjoyed some delightful refreshments, the mood changed again. The Singers embraced Steal Away, arranged by our very own Stephen Pusey, followed by Alan Simmons’ Give Me That Old Time Religion, which is a particular favourite! This was followed by Didn’t it Rain, arranged by Bob Chilcott.
Francine Rumball’s reading continued the theme, with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Rainy Day.
John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You And Keep You and the unaccompanied God So Loved The World were next from the Singers, before Howard Goodall’s The Lord Is My Shepherd, made popular as the theme tune for The Vicar Of Dibley.
Kevin Bull’s Instrumental Interlude was a real “tour de force” as he gave a wonderfully powerful and energetic performance of Fly Me To The Moon, which was most enthusiastically received. This excitingly improvised piece was premiered in the Concert, with the arranger, Jonny May, also in the audience.
Liz Martin then had a very “hard act to follow” with her reading of the anonymous but amusing Altos’ Lament, but which made everyone smile.
The Concert’s final three items were all new to the Singers’ ever developing contemporary repertoire. I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing, (Backer et al, arranged by Rogers) and Lullaby Of Birdland (George Shearing, arranged by Carter) provided the build-up to Grayston Ives’ challenging and exciting Name That Tune, which brought the evening to a close.
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Emily and Max’s Wedding
The Tenterden Singers’ returned to St Mary The Virgin in Rolvenden on Saturday, March 23rd, to help celebrate the wedding of Emily and Max, where a packed church eagerly awaited the bride’s arrival. The Reverend Christopher Hodgkins officiated and Organist Geoffrey Davidson led the congregational hymns. The Tenterden Singers’Anthems were accompanied by Kevin Bull on piano and conducted by Musical Director Stephen Pusey.
The four pieces featured during the Signing of the Register were:-
Be Still For The Presence Of The Lord – David Evans
The Lord Bless You And Keep You – John Rutter
The Lord Is My Shepherd – Howard Goodall
My Song Is Love Unknown – John Nicholson Ireland
The Singers very much appreciated the vocal contributions made by Sopranos Kate and Alice Pusey and Tenor Mark Davies and are most grateful to them for their time and support. The sense of being involved with such a special day will stay with us and we wish the newlyweds every happiness.
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Saturday 30th March
A varied concert of choral music from classical to traditional to the stage
Tickets £7.50 each to include a glass of wine or soft drink and canapes
Tickets available from
Fay Steed 01233 758304
All proceeds to Appledore Church
Parking in Village Hall car park please
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Town Carol Service
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Tenterden Town Carol Service
Currently we’re rehearsing some SATB options to traditional congregational carols for the upcoming Service in St Mildred’s but are also focussing our attention on the Coventry Carol, A Maiden Most Gentle and In The Bleak Midwinter.
We’re very much looking forward to the opportunity of singing with the Church Choir this year too!
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Rolvenden Armistice Service
We were very glad to have been able to participate in the Remembrance Sunday Service held at St Mary the Virgin, Rolvenden, to commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice. We much appreciated being invited to take part in such an important community act and are indebted to Aileen Dickson for the gift of her time and expertise both in rehearsal and in accompanying us on piano.
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St. Michael’s Spring Concert
Raymond Crawfurd reviews our most recent performance.
St. Michael’s Church hosted a wonderful evening concert by Tenterden Singers under their Musical Director Stephen Pusey and accompanist Damien Smith.
The programme was carefully planned around Spring in all its varied and lovely forms.
By following Stephen’s direction, the Singers made some really special moments out of tiny details, such as the “Oh” of surprise in Christopher Robin and the joy of the African – American Spirituals.
The programme began in the 17th century with Tracey Laws reading George Herbert’s moving poem Love Bade Me Welcome, followed by three unaccompanied songs. There were two gentle pieces, Let Thy Merciful Ears, O Lord and The Silver Swan, followed by John Dowland’s cheerful and delightful Fine Knacks for Ladies.
Andy Walton read Housman’s quiet and questioning Easter Hymn, before we moved on to two familiar songs, Mozart’s Ave Verum and Stainer’s God So Loved the World. The Stainer was particularly appropriate in the perfect setting of a Victorian church built just a few years before the music was written.
The near-contemporary Locus Iste, composed by Bruckner for the consecration of a chapel in the cathedral in Linz, was the perfect conclusion of this section of the music, and Kate Purdey’s reading of Christina Rosetti’s Uphill completed the religious part of the programme.
Damien changed the mood with a sensational performance of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, as true as you like to the original. The Singers resumed their performance with three Cambridge pieces. They sang Bob Chilcott’s arrangements for Irish Blessing, and Didn’t It Rain? followed by John Rutter’s Let’s Begin Again. Great choices on a day when Cambridge made a clean sweep on the Tideway.
After the interval the Singers gave us three traditional folksongs, Welsh, English and Irish, and the highlight was the moving end to Early One Morning. Nick Hudd then read Percy Babington’s Ballade of Kentish Woods. Percy was the son of Rev. Albert Babington, Vicar of Tenterden and the poem was written in memory of Percy’s brother Humphrey, a casualty of the First World War.
The climax of the evening was a tremendous performance of three great spirituals. Kumbayah can be frankly quite monotonous, but Stephen’s arrangement lifted it and gave it such vitality that it seemed almost like a different song. Give Me That Ol’ Time Religion had the audience clapping and stamping their feet, the rhythm was so infectious, and finally Amazing Grace was as lovely and moving as we have ever heard it.
Damien then delighted us with I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter from Ain’t Misbehavin, especially when the piano went off into Scott Joplin in the middle, until a bemused Damien managed to get it back under control to finish the song. The mood was just right for Charles Calverley’s nonsense poem Butter and Eggs and a Pound of Cheese read by Michael Steed.
The finale of the evening was an unexpected pairing. First was a setting of Vespers from Now We Are Six.It could be just too sentimental, but the Singers made it delightful and so cleverly phrased, that it was funny as well as charming. They finished with Fields of Gold by Sting.
Although the Singers don’t usually do encores, on this occasion they were persuaded to perform a reprise of Give Me That Ol’ Time Religion.
Thank you so much Tenterden Singers for a truly wonderful evening!
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Tenterden Town Carol Service
We were very pleased to have been invited back to sing at St Mildred’s on December 20th 2017.
Before the Service, drawing from “Carols Old & New” and “Carols For Choirs Book 1” we sang a selection from the following:-
Hush My Dear, Lie Still;
Angels, From The Realms Of Glory;
Away In A Manger;
Ding-Dong! Merrily On High.
During the Service we sang Adam Lay Ybounden (61, Carols Old & New) and also The Lute-Book Lullaby (34, Carols For Choirs).
As ever, the church was full and the acoustics wonderful, making for a very special evening indeed. The mulled wine and mince-pies afterwards were most welcome as Christmas and New Year wishes were exchanged.
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Songs of Land and Sea
Tenterden Singers were delighted to perform a concert at the Congregational Church in Iden Green, to help raise money for their kitchen renovations.
The choir performed a selection of songs with the theme of Land and Sea.
As well as some old favourites, like Never Weather Beaten Sail and Blow the Wind Southerly, the singers added some new popular titles. Summertime and Fields of Gold were both very well received.
The concert was punctuated with readings from local poet Janet Norfolk – The Long Tall Grass and Rhapsody of the Summer, and a nautical flavour was provided by The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, and an excerpt fromColeridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
A most enjoyable evening for all concerned.
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Since resuming rehearsals after the February mid-term break, the Singers have been embracing the challenges of A Shanty Sequence,”arranged by Leon Bailey. This most enjoyable, unaccompanied piece includes excepts from some well-known favourites, such as Bound For The Rio Grande, A-Roving,Shenandoah, Fire Down Below, What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor?.
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A Big Thank You
We wish to thank Sue very much indeed for her diligent efforts, care and patience in keeping our music books in order. We are very pleased to announce that Clare has taken over as our Music Librarian.
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St Mildred’s New Year Social
The Tenterden Singers were pleased to provide the entertainment at the St Mildred’s New Year Social, held in the Church Hall on Saturday, 4th February 2017.
Accompanied by a Sausage or Fish and Chip supper, the music of the evening took on a different, rather more contemporary style:-
John Farmer’s madrigal
The traditional Irish (arr. Bob Chilcott)
The traditional Welsh
The traditional Scottish
The traditional Native American
The traditional Irish (arr. Charles Stanford)
The ever popular classic
The well known Spiritual
Richard Rogers (arr. Stephen Pusey)
Carter & Hudson (arr. Robert Sund)
God Be In My Head
I Vow to thee My Country
All Through the Night
The Beauty Of The Earth
Quick! We Have But a Second
Give me That Old Time Religion
I Will Always
We’ve Only Just Begun
Top of the World
King of the Road
You’ll Never Walk Alone
We received the following feedback almost the next day!
“Thank you and The Tenterden Singers for singing at St Mildred’s New Year Supper on Saturday. It was much appreciated by everyone with plenty of applause from the audience. In all a good evening with a tour of the British Isles, some spiritual influence and The Carpenters thrown in.“
“Please pass on our thanks to the accompanist, Kevin, and the choir as well as the Vickers duo (Jolyon and Suzanne) for their poems.”
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Town Carol Service
The Tenterden Singers were pleased to take part in the St Mildred’s packed Town Christmas Carol Service on Wednesday, December 21st 2016.
Following on from the Church Choir’s beautiful harmonies before the Service began, Musical Director Stephen Pusey then conducted the Singers.
They performed, amongst other pieces, his own arrangement of Gaudete!, along with Hodie Christus Natus Est, Hector Berlioz’s The Shepherd’s Farewell, There Is No Rose, and Past Three O Clock.
The Singers always enjoy the wonderful acoustics afforded by the old church and their music was again very well received as they reprised Alan Ridout’s The Great God Of Heaven.
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Christmas Carol Concert
The Singers were extremely pleased to have been asked to sing at the candle-lit Christmas Carol Concert on Tuesday, December 13th 2016 at St Mildred’s, celebrating the work of the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
The current Mayor, Councillor Pamela Smith, had said how astonished she was to discover that the Air Ambulance was funded almost entirely from public donations. Tenterden Town Council has now named them as their Chosen Charity.
Sitting in the Choir Stalls, the Singers supported the traditional, congregational carols throughout the Concert and were invited to perform Alan Ridout’s unaccompanied The Great God Of Heaven as a separate item.
We have been invited to support the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Christmas Carol service.
Don’t forget we are meeting next Tuesday (13th December) in St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden at 7pm.
Please bring your green Carols for Choirs 1 and Carols Old and New books together with We Three Kings sheet music.
The Service Sheets are printed and we expect to be leading the congregational carols. In view of this, we do not need to come in our usual choir “uniform” – civvies being sufficient on this occasion.
A Christmas Cracker
The concert was a great success. The raffle, generously supported by local businesses , raised £240 for the Teenage Cancer Trust
The concert featured Tenterden Singers, who performed a number of traditional carols and old favourites, with a sprinkling of works new to the repertoire.
Steve Rivington sang a selection of traditional folk songs, many of Jake Thackeray’s well-known classics and other traditional folk songs.
Local drama stalwarts Ian Klemen and Susannah Mayor dramatised several seasonal readings, both traditional favourites and modern. The item about Health and Safety as applied to a traditional Christmas carol was especially memorable.
In the interval, everyone enjoyed the wonderful homemade refreshments provided by church members
Everyone had a great evening raising money for a good cause.
Singers Go Alfresco for Her Majesty!
An exciting opportunity to sing in a marquee was enthusiastically embraced by the Tenterden Singers last Saturday, May 14th.
The Singers had been invited to perform in the afternoon as part of the Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday festivities and their concert was well received.
“I did enjoy that” and “Excellent!” said two members of the audience.
“I really like the wide variety of music you’ve included in your programme today,” someone else commented.
Musical Director and Conductor Stephen Pusey said, “We were very pleased to have been able to make a significant contribution to the celebrations”
He introduced a selection of items from the current repertoire, including a reprise of some from their recent concert at Brookland.
The talented Kevin Bull again accompanied the Singers, undaunted by playing in a marquee!
Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses had donned their performance finery and later observed that, “Had all those listening been seated together, Saturday’s concert would have represented the Singers’ largest ever audience!”
Tenterden Singers in Concert with “A Century of Music”
Saturday 23rd April at St Augustine’s Church, Brookland
If you’ve never been to this church, put it on your “Romney Marsh To-Do” List! It presents a very different image from others on the Marsh because it has a detached wooden bell tower.
The box pews made for an interesting concert experience from the Singers’ perspective, “We couldn’t see the audience or their faces so were delighted to know how they felt from their applause!”
Revd Shuna Body of Brookland said how very pleased she had been to receive a telephone call asking if she’d like a concert in the church.
At the end of the concert she said “It was a wonderful mixture of music that was a delight to listen to. A truly magical evening.”
Her favourite musical item from the programme was I Vow To Thee My Country and she also particularly liked the readings.
In the region of £280 was raised on the evening, to swell the general funds.
In the rehearsal following the concert, Musical Director and Conductor, Stephen Pusey confessed himself pleased with the blends of sounds from the Singers on the night. Of particular note were the Londonderry Air, Autumn Leaves, They Can’t Take That Away From Me; also the Rogers and Hammerstein and Carpenters items.
The hard work of the immediate pre-concert rehearsal and a strong dose of performance adrenalin paid off and Summertime looks set for inclusion in the repertoire.
Overheard at the end of the concert were some delightful comments, including, “They did all my favourites!” and “That was the best I’ve ever heard them sound!”
We’re looking forward now to the afternoon of May 14th when we’re hoping to be singing in a tent on Tenterden Recreation Ground as part of HM The Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday Celebrations.
We hope to see you there – if you’d like to join us in rehearsal, do make yourself known to any member of the Super Sopranos, Amazing Altos, Terrific Tenors or Breathtaking Basses.
Smallhythe 500 Concert
If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket for the Smallhythe 500 concert on Friday 9th October, you experienced a wonderful treat.
The evening was a celebration of the rebirth of the village of Smallhythe after a disastrous fire five hundred years ago, and was the culmination of two years of events to mark the anniversary.
Providing the entertainment this evening were the Tenterden Singers, well known locally for their four part harmony style, often singing unaccompanied.
They performed a range of music to reflect the different periods of Smallhythe’s history, beginning with medieval music and coming full circle to music for today.
Adding a sense of period was Steve Rivington who played a selection of medieval music on instruments from the period.
Tying all the evening together was well known local actor Ian Klemen who took his audience through the chequered history of this tiny village.
Who would realise, visiting Smallhythe today, that in the middle ages it was one of the major shipbuilding centres of England, and held this prestigious position for three hundred years.
In 1515 a disastrous fire destroyed the entire village. The villagers were determined not to be beaten by the disaster and set about rebuilding their community.
A lovely new brick built church, the village houses, and the wharves were all rebuilt.
Within thirty years, the silting up of the river channel signalled the end for Smallhythe as a major shipbuilding centre. The docks were dismantled and the land drained to make way for farming and the bucolic landscape Smallhythe enjoys today.
Choir director Stephen Pusey was delighted with the performance and the rapturous welcome from the audience. He thought this was the choir’s best performance to date and said the members should be pleased with themselves. “Today,” he said, “We made music. Well done everyone.”
Stephen was particularly pleased with the rendition of The Lamb and the sense of drama in the excerpts from Faure’s Requiem.
Credit should also go to John Sewell, who provided the most atmospheric lighting effects, with a spectacular illumination of the stained glass windows from the outside, highlighting their beauty for the audience. Pianist Kevin Bull accompanied the Singers for some of their items and played Galiardia Dolorosa, a piece datng back to the late 16th Century.
Items currently in rehearsal include the beautiful Autumn Leaves and Gershwin’s They Can’t Take That Away From Me.
If you enjoyed hearing the Tenterden Singers and are interested in joining them, contact them here.
We were very pleased indeed to have been asked to be part of this commemoration – it’s always good to be ableto support a local event and a great delight to be able to perform with Ian Klemen.
We have been busy rehearsing at Homewood and refining our programme for several months now and our final rehearsal is this Tuesday in St John’s Church at Smallhythe.
We have the running order established and it is a hugely mixed choral programme, hopefully with something for everyone. As usual we have both sacred and secular pieces, but this time if you fancy a madrigal or a sea shanty or an English folk song you’re in luck – watch out particularly for John Whitworth’s The Mermaid!
We also have pieces by Taverner, Rutter, Bruckner, Holst and Faure not to mention work by Thomas Tallis, David Willcocks and Bob Chilcott.
We are all set for an enjoyable evening, concert folders and glad rags at the ready and very much hope to see you there.
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Iden Green Concert
We will be in Concert again, on Saturday 11th April at 7.30pm in Iden Green Congregational Church, New Pond Road, Iden Green, Benenden TN17 4HA.
We’ve a lovely, varied programme of songs, which we are looking forward to performing.
Tickets will be available on the door – £8.
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Recent rehearsals have included:- Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, arrangements by Chilcott and anthems by Rutter – an interesting variety of pieces to welcome some new faces!
In contrast to these, we’ve also been working on Kumbayah, Among The Leaves So Green, O; Cole Porter’s Anything Goes and lovely spiritual called Deep River.
We were pleased to take delivery of two new songbooks and will be looking forward to including numbers from them in our forthcoming performance.
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We were delighted to be invited to sing at several local events over the Christmas period.
We enjoyed singing at Homewood’s Christmas Fair.
The Carol Service for the WI is always a delight, and the Tenterden Town Carol Service is very special.
We really enjoyed singing the Tchaikovsky carol, When Jesus ChristWas Yet A Child in St Mildred’s.
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Getting Tuned In
Our Tuesday Rehearsal dates for this year are now on the Diary Dates page. If you’ve a mind to join us, you’ve only missed the first rehearsal! We worked last week on two traditional songs with contemporary arrangements, one from John Rutter, the other by Bob Chilcott.
Our first concert this year will be on Saturday 5th April in St Mildred’s Church and will be in aid of the Friends of West View Care Centre.
The visit to Avallon is planned for Friday, 23rd May, returning on Monday, 26th May.
The concert will take place on the Saturday evening with our usual rehearsal in the afternoon.
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Happy New Year!
Did you make a New Year Resolution to sing? Our first rehearsal is next Tuesday, January 14th.
We’d be really pleased to see you at 7.50 in the Music Room at Homewood or you could email us at email@example.com for more information.
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Tenterden Town Carol Service
On Wednesday, December 18th we were delighted to take part, with other local singing groups, in the Town Carol Service at St Mildred’s Church. This is the second year we have been invited to contribute to this event, organised by the Rotary Club of Tenterden.
We sang The Shepherd’s Cradle Song by Karl Leuner.
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All Saints, Lydd
On November 23rd 2013, the Reverend Sarah Williams welcomed us to All Saints, Lydd, the first time we had been invited to this beautiful and historic church.
Our Accompanist, Damien Smith, also contributed to our programme, with two vocal interludes; John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane during the first set and Pennies From Heaven (music by Arthur Johnston and words by Johnny Burke) during the second.
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The Diamond Jubilee
In April 2012 the Singers helped celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a concert in St Mary’s, Great Chart. Later that year we sang for the Tenterden Women’s Institute Carol Service held in the Methodist Church and at the Town Carol Service held in St Mildred’s Church.
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Gardeners’ Question Time
In December 2011, BBC Radio 4 came to the Sinden Theatre to record an edition of Gardeners’ Question Time and meet Members of Tenterden and other local Horticultural Societies.
Initially we had just been expecting to sing to the audience on arrival but we were then invited to sing carols to be used at the beginning and end of the programme.
We are busy rehearsing for our first public broadcast.
We performed A Babe Is Born I Wys (F. Bainton) and The Infant King (arranged by David Willcocks). The experience of being recorded professionally was something of a highlight for us and a treasured memory.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join us, or have any questions about commissioning a concert. We would be very pleased to hear from you.
Click here to follow us on Twitter @tenterdensings.