The Choir's Latest Press Release, June 2017

 

   PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION FROM 20 JULY 2017

Further information if required from Mrs J Holder, Caritas Harmony Marketing 01582 873465

CARITAS HARMONY CHOIR SUPPORT THE A-T SOCIETY WITH A CONCERT AT ROTHAMSTED CONFERENCE CENTRE, WEST COMMON, HARPENDEN ON 21 OCTOBER 2017 7PM

Bedfordshire based Caritas Harmony is delighted to be singing in support of the A-T Society, Harpenden Caritas Harmony Ladies’ Choir (winners of two significant choral awards at The Bedfordshire Festival of Music in 2016) last presented a concert in Harpenden in 2014, when their performance at St Nicholas’ Church Harpenden raised the roof - as well as much needed funds for a local Hospice. On 21 October 2017, the ladies will again be combining a love of music with support for good causes when they return to Harpenden to give a concert at Rothamsted Conference Centre, - this time in support of the Harpenden based charity – The A-T Society. Caritas Harmony has been raising funds for charities in Herts, Beds and Bucks since 2003 and overall, the choir has raised in excess of £150,000 for local charities. The 40-strong group will be performing a medley of popular songs from musicals such as Les Miserables, Kiss Me Kate, South Pacific and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - as well as popular numbers and classical pieces. Under the skilled guidance of Musical Director Margaret Blenkin, the choir can offer a truly eclectic repertoire and there is no style or period of music that it won’t take on.

Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) is a complex genetic condition which hides in the DNA and isn’t revealed until two carriers of the gene have a child together. The devastating diagnosis means apparently healthy babies become wobbly toddlers and are usually regular wheelchair users before their 10th birthday. The child’s mind is unaffected, and with the right support they do well at school. However, for families their child’s disability is just the beginning, A-T increases the risk of cancer and lung disease and most people with classic A-T don’t live beyond their mid 20s. The A-T Society is based at Rothamsted and is the only UK charity providing family support, information and research towards treatments and a cure for A-T. The charity’s determination to achieve the best quality of life for children and their families, combined with links to medical specialists and a wealth of experience has seen an increase in life expectancy of over 8 years since the charity was founded. 8 more birthdays mean a lot to the families involved.

The concert is generously sponsored by The Jarvis (Harpenden) Charitable Trust through the charity’s patron, The Lady Ann Parkinson. Lady Parkinson has been involved with the A-T Society since the charity was founded by a local family in 1989. She is a passionate advocate of the A-T Society and believes deeply in working to solve the horrendous challenges life with A-T brings for families. The Harpenden based Jarvis Group has always supported local charities and is delighted to be involved in such a special event. The choir and charity hope for a sell-out night to help raise vital funds for this little known but very worthy cause. The concert starts at 7pm on 21st October and tickets can be obtained via the Caritas Harmony website www.caritasharmony.co.uk (click GET TICKETS) or by calling the Caritas Harmony Box Office (Jackie Howe) 01582 599520. Tickets can also be obtained via the A-T Society at www.atsociety.org.uk/caritas. 

   

Caritas Harmony Serenade Dunstable

With A Memorable Summer Concert at

The Grove Theatre, Dunstable

11th June 2017

A review written by Dave Simpson and Susan George

 

 

Being asked to write a review of such a wonderful event is an honour because this talented group of angelic voices also donates to many charities and has raised large amounts of money over the years.

Margaret Blenkin and the ladies of the choir looked stunning, as did the red roses on the black dresses, giving an air of sophistication and unity.  This musically versatile group of singers commits all music and lyrics to memory and each song comes from the heart. "Another Opening, Another Show", written by Cole Porter for Kiss Me Kate, opened the show.  This set a high benchmark for the evening. All the songs chosen showcased the choir's well-balanced close four-part harmony. A full programme of songs, far too many to review singularly was delivered expertly and professionally.

Adrian Mills delighted the audience with his wit and humour and when he drew the raffle with the Mayor of Dunstable the audience was delightfully entertained.  Humour was mixed with sincerity when introducing the songs and Adrian's input into the show was enthusiastically received throughout. 

One of the outstanding moments in this show was the song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth", dedicated to the families and victims of the terror attacks in Manchester and London.  The singers joined hands and the audience could palpably feel their emotion. 

"Dunstable Downs" is a composition by well known musical arranger and composer Chris Hazell, who spent many years of his life enjoying the "Downs" in Dunstable.  Haunting and poignant, it resonated with those who know and enjoy the loveliness of this natural landscape.  Chris took a bow at the end of the song and surely felt pride at hearing it so beautifully delivered. 

Thomas Elwin, with his powerful tenor voice, presented "La Donna E Mobile" from Rigoletto with perfect diction - his facial expression and passion convincingly describing the character of the Duke of Mantua.  Thomas then took on the persona of "Tony" with the love song "Maria" from West Side Story. The light and shade in his voice fitted perfectly with this song; the high notes sung with ease.  Other songs included "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables which was delivered with such beauty and feeling that it brought the audience to tears. Thomas has a lovely voice and will go far in the Operatic world.

Caritas Harmony performed songs from many different genres, all of which were beautifully portrayed and if you have not yet seen the choir in action you would be wise to visit their website to see where they are performing next.

Luckily it didn't end with the last song. "The Impossible Dream", from The Man of La Mancha, was the encore.  Thomas Elwin joined Caritas Harmony on stage and the uplifting voices of the ladies with Thomas's voice gave a moving experience that we all took away with us.

 

 

HITCHIN FESTIVAL AUDIENCE CHARMED BY

AWARD WINNING CHOIR CARITAS HARMONY

PRESS RELEASE JULY 2016

For the third consecutive year, Luton's Caritas Harmony gave a concert of songs from their highly eclectic and varied repertoire as part of the much respected annual Hitchin Festival. On Saturday 23 July, Festival music lovers were treated once again to a very high standard of singing performance that the ladies of Caritas Harmony provide at every one of their concerts.

The evening was wonderfully compered by Hitchin's own Richard Whitmore, Founder President and trustee of The Queen Mother Theatre at Hitchin. Richard skilfully guided the choir's programme of 20 songs and ensured that each item was introduced with clarity and interest. It was the first time that Richard had heard a Caritas Harmony performance and in a note to the choir's concert organiser the following day, he made the following comments:

"I am writing to say how much I enjoyed my evening with the ladies of Caritas Harmony. Having worked with a good number of choirs up and down the land during the past 50 years it was lovely to find one of such a high standard 'on my doorstep' so to speak. It may surprise some of your members but I cannot remember when I last worked with a choir who had committed - how many? - twenty numbers to memory, thus enabling every choir member to project their voice and, equally important, their feeling for the music 100 per-cent. No down-cast eyes, no irritating page-turning to distract us. Marvellous! If only more would make that bit of extra effort to learn their lines and dispense with scores. I'm sure you will have sensed that the feedback from the audience afterwards was very encouraging, a good many expressing the hope that it won't be too long before Caritas Harmony make a return trip to our town."

Led by the experienced and exacting standards of Musical Director Margaret Blenkin and the talented accompaniment of pianist Martin Hart, the choir will be in action again in 2016 at Barton Le Clay, Luton, Toddington and Dunstable. Detailed information of upcoming concerts and how to buy tickets can be found on the choir's website www.caritasharmony.co.uk

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LUTON CHOIR CARITAS HARMONY WIN FIRST PLACE AT BEDFORDSHIRE FESTIVAL OF MUSIC, SPEECH AND DRAMA 5 MARCH 2016

Released to the Local Press 9 March 2016 

The Luton Ladies' Choir, Caritas Harmony, has won a prestigious event held annually at The Corn Exchange, Bedford. The Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama attracts amateur artists from across the country and provides a showcase for the wealth of talent in the amateur performing arts in Bedfordshire and the surrounding areas. The Festival offers a wide range of competition classes for all ages covering most musical genres, as well as many varied Speech and Drama classes.

At the 2016 competition held on 5 March 2016 Caritas Harmony walked away with two 'first place' awards. In the Choral Class, they won the 'Open Choral' category and were judged 'outstanding' with their 10 minute contrasting performance of 'Joshua Fit The Battle' (Traditional Spiritual), 'I Am Not Yours' (David Childs), and 'Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day' (English Traditional). Later in the same event the choir was awarded another 'first place' in the 'Harding Memorial Bowl', with a 'distinction' grade from the judges. For this, they sang two well-known songs 'And So It Goes' (Billy Joel) and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (Freddie Mercury). The Harding Bowl is given in memory of the Bedfordshire Festival's founder, Dr H A Harding.

 

The Choir are pictured here a few days after the competition at their rehearsal hall in Stopsley, Luton with Musical Director Margaret Blenkin 

The Caritas Ladies will be singing at events and concerts throughout Herts, Beds and Bucks in 2016 with many concerts raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, their chosen charity for 2016.  The choir's next concert is at St Mary's Church, Church Street, Luton LU1 3JF on 16 April 2016 - a joint concert with the highly acclaimed Luton Male Voice Choir.  'WITH A VOICE OF SINGING' starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £8 with refreshments available to purchase during the evening.  Ticket information for this concert can be found on the Caritas website.

To hear Caritas Harmony at other venues throughout 2016 and to see reports and photographs of previous concerts and achievements, take a look at their website www.caritasharmony.co.uk  

 

LUTON CHOIR'S YEAR OF HARMONY

Released to Local Press January 2016 

Once again the Luton choir, Caritas Harmony (previously known as Pasque Harmony) has completed a highly successful year of concerts and events in Beds, Herts and Bucks. In 2014 the choir donated £5000 to their newly chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. In 2015, the choir raised another significant sum for Macmillan, yet to be confirmed. Then in 2016 they intend to continue to raise funds for this highly valued service.

Last year the ladies of Caritas Harmony performed a total of 12 concerts in addition to numerous private events for which the choir has a dedicated group of singers. Highlights of the year included a competition at the Bedford Festival in March, an appearance in the Baldock Festival in May and a joyful street event at the High Town Luton Festival in July. The choir's most ambitious concert of the year took place at The Grove Theatre, Dunstable on 21 June and was a resounding success. Besides raising funds for Macmillan from this concert, a donation of nearly £500 was given to the Dunstable Mayor's chosen charity. The choir was joined by internationally acclaimed baritone, Jeffrey Carl, whose songs added to the broad spectrum of genres for which the choir is justifiable renowned.

Other events in the year included concerts for: The Salvation Army, Dunstable; St Mary's Church, Hitchin; St Mary the Virgin Church, Kensworth; and in August, at Barton Le Clay where Caritas ladies sang their annual 'picnic concert' in the beautiful gardens of Wayside Cottage.

2015 was delightfully brought to a conclusion by the choir's annual Christmas Concert which took place on 13 December at St Mary's R.C. Church, Dunstable. At this very special event, the choir was joined by the Hadrian Academy Choir - a highly talented group of children who represented their school. Hadrian is the only school in Bedfordshire with a Platinum 'Sing Up' Award and all children sing every day. They won the School's Got Talent in London in 2014 and were picked to sing at the Dunstable Mayor's Civic Service in 2014 and 2015. Audience members later described the event as 'moving' and 'a wonderful start to Christmas' with the children performing 4 songs of their own and 2 with the Caritas Ladies. The ladies sang 14 songs including favourites such as Russell Robinson's arrangement of 'Silent Night, Michael Neaum's arrangement of 'Gaudete' and Dan Forrest's powerful arrangement of 'The First Noel'.

In 2016 Caritas Harmony will be adding more songs to their already extensive repertoire. The ladies sing every song from memory and according to their Musical Director, Margaret Blenkin, this ensure that they sing 'from the soul'. If you would like to hear this choir and help to raise funds for Macmillan, have a look at their website for information about upcoming events in 2016. The choir has also released their third CD and this can be purchased via the website.

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