On the hottest day of the year, an audience of 350 cooled off in the air-conditioned comfort of Cornerstone Church in Walton-on-Thames, to enjoy a delightful evening of pure musical entertainment, as the 90-voice Elmbridge Ladies Choir celebrated their 10th anniversary with a special concert, “Now We Are 10!”
The celebrations started with a brief, but nonetheless impressive, performance from the 130-strong mixed-voice Elmbridge Choir led by Surrey Music’s CEO and founder Cliff van Tonder, swiftly followed by the main act, Elmbridge Ladies Choir, who took to the stage and delivered a programme of much loved songs from the choir’s last 10 years.
As the choir’s first ever Musical Director, Cliff led their first song of the evening, followed by former Musical Directors Ramon Davis and Dale Thomas, who had returned to direct the choir for one song each and regaled the audience with fond, funny and emotional memories of their time with the choir. The choir’s current MD, Christine Parker, then took over the baton for the rest of the evening, smoothly and skilfully leading the ladies and introducing each song with charm and gentle humour. The second half of the concert saw the ladies return to showcase their brand-new repertoire. Resplendent in their beautiful new purple scarves, the ladies sparkled, their enthusiasm, joy and passion for singing evident for all to see.
“Our ladies were on splendid form and rose to the occasion,” says Cliff. “I am so very proud of each and every one of them. I really enjoyed the opportunity to direct them once again in the first song I ever taught them – a fun medley of 60s classics called ‘60s Chicks’!”
The special concert raised £2300 for the Dylan Howells Foundation, a charity which encourages children and young adults to progress in their chosen sport and to help them fulfil their ambitions, irrespective of ability. “We are extremely grateful for the support of Surrey Music”, said Brian Howells, Chair of the charity. ”This amazing sum will enable the charity to further support aspiring young sportspeople to reach their potential.”
Surrey Music will be performing at the first Pride in Surrey event to be held in Woking on 10th August, and Elmbridge Ladies Choir can be seen at Elmbridge Food Festival at Painshill Park on 21st September.