22 February 12:30-14:45. In an attempt to turn what, some say, might be a white elephant into a thriving red Rose, we were invited to sing (free of charge to us) in the recently built Shakespearean-style theatre, The Rose, in Kingston-Upon-Thames. Considering the unusual timing of 1230 pm on a Sunday, we had a good audience consisting largely of mayors, mayors and more mayors and mayoresses - 9, to be precise, and 2 deputies!
We were raising funds this time for the Mayor of Kingston's Charity Appeal supporting Combat Stress and Forces Children's Trust and he had invited mayors from several neighbouring boroughs including some from London. The glittering, clanking chains were a sight to behold! Once again borrowed staging was wheeled along the road from a nearby church. We had the luxury of several dressing rooms upstairs so when it was time to go on stage there was a long trail of us down dark and narrow back stairs waiting for our cue to all march on.
However, the concert was not without its problems for us. Perhaps designers of theatres in Shakespeare's time did not have the foresight of advancement in sound systems - there is a world of difference between a lute and amplified CDs, from a few strolling players to 130 lusty singers! Some of us had difficulty in hearing the music and we had a false start to Bohemian Rhapsody but, apart from this obvious hiccup, the audience appeared unaware of our problems as the acoustics for them were very good, and once again, in true professional style, we "rose" above all our problems and it was another job well done. The Mayor of Kingston was delighted with our performance and gave an amusing and heartfelt vote of thanks at the end.
Cliff also gave a short speech as to how proud he was of the choir and how delighted he was that we were able to bring pleasure to so many people as well as raise funds for all the charities. After the concert there was a sight to behold of Cliff and members of the Committee together with all the mayors and mayoresses walking to a reception at the Guildhall followed by members of the choir wheeling the staging back to the church! For the first time we gratefully received sponsorship from Savills Estate Agents with which we were able to purchase our colourful scarves, print flyers and produce the programme.
We were delighted to donate about £3500 to the charity, making a total of about £39,000 raised for various charities since the inception of the choir in 2005.
We sang: ... Two Too Wet, Save the Last Dance For Me, Build Me Up Buttercup, And All That Jazz, Kling Glockchen, Winterlight, Up, Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Impossible Dream, Uthe Wena, African Amazing Grace, Bohemian Rhapsody, Son of a Preacher Man, You Raise Me Up, The Rose, When You Tell Me That You Love Me, He Aint Heavy He's My Brother, Hallelujah (From Shrek), Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway