Returning to the UK triumphant from a weekend of singing in Poland, Elmbridge Choir members are thrilled to have picked up a bronze award for their magnificent efforts in the Krakow Advent and Christmas Choir Festival.
The 130 or so members in the choir and the combined talents of musical directors Cliff van Tonder and Dale Thomas so impressed the competition judges that they were actually only one point away from winning the silver award.
Cliff, who also won a very special award for his conducting, was over the moon with the accolade. ‘We were up against some amazing professional choirs and we didn't really expect to come anywhere in the competition - we were just there for the experience! You can imagine how surprised we were to find out we had won an award - we were gobsmacked but obviously very delighted.'
As well as singing in the competition - which included the first-ever performance of a piece composed especially for the choir by celebrated British composer Tim Knight with lyrics written by Elmbridge Ladies Choir member, Gillie La Haye - the choir had the unique experience of singing 100 metres below ground in the Wieliczka Salt Mine as well as the incredible privilege of singing in the famous Mariacki Church in the Krakow Old Town.