Surrey Music’s two impressive community choirs sang their hearts out in Walton on Saturday night in a truly memorable concert to raise funds for Elmbridge Rentstart.
As long-established choirs of the Borough, Elmbridge Choir and Elmbridge Ladies Choir had been invited by Cllr Shweta Kapadia to support her Mayoral charity, and with a winning combination of joyous music, fun and laughter together with sincere and heartfelt emotion, the concert raised a fantastic £2597.49 for the charity.
“Music with a Heart” took place at Cornerstone the Church in the presence of several dignitaries and special guests including The Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Elmbridge, The High Sheriff of Surrey, The Mayor of Spelthorne, and Michael Aspel OBE.
With a delightful programme of popular songs, Elmbridge Ladies choir set the tone for the evening with a lively medley of 60s hits, followed by rather more contemporary songs from Christina Perri and Coldplay amongst others, notably a quite superb a capella version of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”. The choir enchanted the audience of almost 300 with a very accomplished and polished performance under the direction of Christine Parker, who introduced each song with gentle humour and charm.
After the interval it was the turn of Elmbridge Choir, led by the irrepressible Founder and CEO of Surrey Music, Cliff van Tonder. The choir sang its way through showstoppers and anthems from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman, as well as medleys of music by Judy Garland and Johnny Cash. The choir’s set was pure entertainment, with Cliff distributing red roses to ladies in the audience, and the choir’s Deputy Musical Director, Anita Auch, making a very sassy and sizzling entrance in full 1920s flapper costume to lead the choir in ‘‘All That Jazz’’ from the musical “Chicago”.
Despite the fun and frivolity, the underlying reason for the concert was not forgotten. Tracey Blandford, Elmbridge Rentstart’s Community Fundraising Officer, delivered an informative and moving speech about the important work of the charity and how they are succeeding in breaking the cycle of homelessness in the Borough of Elmbridge.
Cllr Shweta Kapadia was delighted with the success of the concert, saying that she was very ‘humbled’ that the choirs had willingly given up their time to help raise funds for her charity.
"I am so honoured that Elmbridge Ladies Choir and Elmbridge Choir put on a concert in aid of my chosen Mayoral charity, Elmbridge Rentstart. The concert - “Music with a Heart” - was truly ‘Music with a Heart - and Soul’! It was fabulous, and everyone enjoyed it. I was so very touched both choirs gave up their time so that I could raise money for the charity. My thanks to each and everyone in the choirs for an amazing evening of music."
The Mayor also paid tribute to Cliff, congratulating him on his recent and well -deserved British Citizen Award, and thanking him for the energy and commitment he has shown over 14 years in promoting musical activities in Elmbridge and beyond.