Stunning result

Still reeling and only just pulling myself together after our spectacular success yesterday at our Afternoon Tea concert. The adrenalin rush disappeared halfway through our family celebration curry last night and I lost the power of speech! I know! 😉 So if I felt that exhausted I can only imagine what it was like for the behind-the-scenes teams. I’m truly amazed at the numbers that turned up. We estimate we had something in the region of 180-200. It has thrown my understanding of estimates for concert audiences completely out.

As soon as we have info on the total money raised I will let you know – the Admiral Nurses have to open up their sealed collection tins first. This information can be found in the Fundraising section of this website when available. Our main man for this concert, Jim Tester, is banking the cash and writing a cheque to the Admiral Nurses and I’m investigating getting one of those huge cheques so we can present it to them with some publicity for the papers. But I can say with great certainty it was over £1000.

I’m afraid in all the excitement I missed out so many thanks. I’m mortified that the team doing the teas and cake sale didn’t get a mention. Pat Piggott – you are an absolute star. You have been a fantastic leader throughout; she deserves a medal. With Ali Hickman, Ali’s and my daughters, Denise Leach, and their friends from Scottish Country Dancing on a Monday night (big plug) it was a superb team running the kitchen and cake stall. The tables and table decorations were a beautiful touch – thanks Denise.

Thank you to everyone who went to the trouble to bake a homemade cake. I feel like we just had our own little ‘loaves and fishes’ moment.

Thank you to Edwina Mills and hubby for running the raffle. A great idea which even by itself raised about £350.

Thank you to all our soloists, duetists and trios – you all did a superb job and it really lifted the programme with the variety of music we ended up with. Bethany Lickiss, you are a fabulous singer and I wish you success with your singing career. We’ve done our little bit there to encourage some local talent. Mike Harling, I heard quite a few voices itching to go full volume on the ‘Li-Li Li’ bit of The Boxer. Val Barter and Mig Cutbush put on a feisty performance in Oom Pah Pah  and the opening to River To Pray was really lovely with Doh Williams joining the trio and then the chaps.

Many thanks to Natalie, the vicar of St Leonard’s, who let us have the considerable extra time it took us to feed our ‘5000’ for free. Mark Reeves, our star accompanist also gave us a charity rate. He said he’d love to accompany us again so we can’t be too bad. He was really excellent and it was lovely to be free of the rigidity of the backing tracks.

I’m still trying to piece together how choirs repeat that success. Jim has to be the secret ingredient with his fervent publicising of the event and getting the charity involved. However there’s also something about the community spirit in Horsham – everybody in that audience that I spoke to knew one of our singers or was a member of the church. I’ve never seen anything like it!


Our first anniversary

With a regular membership of over thirty, Horsham Harmony has grown into a fully developed choir over the past year, to my complete joy and satisfaction. We are now starting to take on four-part harmony pieces though we do juggle these with some simpler music including unison singing and rounds, so that people don’t feel overwhelmed.

Our first week back after the Easter break marked our first anniversary, which I had entirely forgotten about. Thank you to Pat Piggott for a remarkable cake and to Mike Harling for the wine. What a lovely surprise!

Spring is here, Spring is here, life is skittles, life is beer…

Thank you to the sunshine and the marvellous Tom Lehrer for a bit of inspiration for the title – and if you didn’t know, it is the opening of his fabulous song, ‘Poisoning Pigeons In The Park’ (apologies to all pigeon-lovers!).

Well, our Spring term is well under way and we are making huge progress towards our Summer concert. Thanks to one of our lovely altos Jacqui for emailing me these wonderful alternative words for the middle section of the ‘The Rhythm of Life’:

‘Go and spread the gospel in the Carfax;

Sing along the Bishopric to Warnham Mill!

Have a break in Roffey; – Causeway coffee!

Beat in joyful Harmony – and

Scale Denne Hill!’

Well done Jacqui!

Settling in to Autumn

Well, we are a term in, and Horsham Harmony has made rapid progress. With Mig and Mike at the helm of the Uniform Committee, and Jayne as our Social Secretary, the choir is taking shape. Our name change from Oakley Singers to Horsham Harmony has proved popular with younger members in-particular, and two new members arrived this term. We have two fun performances lined up for Christmas, one public and one private at a local care home, which will be lovely for the choir as an intro to performing as a group. As with most choirs, we are crying out for tenors. We have a lovely group of basses, and the men have great camaraderie. We have four tenors, and it would be so wonderful to have a few more. Where are they all? Overall the choir has over 30 members now. I think its popularity has a lot to do with the fact that singers are encouraged to investigate the challenges of reading music, rather than rote-learning and memorising—score-reading is not difficult and can be mastered at any age. It just takes patience and practice and at the gentle pace I set, everyone is enjoying the challenge.

What shall we do with a drunken sailor?

Thank-you to Roland Jellett of the Guildford choir for supplying some information on ‘What shall we do with a drunken sailor?’

  • ‘Put him in the scuppers with a hosepipe on him’: scuppers—holes or drains to allow water from the deck to flow overboard.
  • ‘Tie him to the taff-rail when she’s yard-arm under’: taff rail—the rail around the stern of a ship; yard arm—the tapering ends of a square sail that allow the sail to be reset efficiently when the ship is heeled over.

What did we do before search engines?


We’ve been getting fit this week by walking from one noticeboard to another putting up posters for Guildford Oakley Singers and Horsham Oakley Singers. Who would have thought there would be so many health benefits to joining a choir!

Great start!

Guildford Oakley Singers had a great start last Tuesday. We managed some two-part harmony from the off! Finger-clicking and clapping warmed us up, particularly as I had forgotten to switch the radiators on! Looking forward to next week immensely. I have had a new enquiry every day so far, so I am very excited about this project moving forward.

Launching now!

Christmas 2015 was the hottest on record. I had a little panic at the beginning of January when I had not received a single enquiry for the launch of Guildford Oakley Singers. As soon as the last of my guests had gone, I decided to keep focussed and positive about the launch, and I set Oklahoma’s ‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ as yet another sunny day launched the New Year. (What a contrast we have in the South of England to the awful floods in the Wales and in the North.) By 3rd January I decided to cancel my booking at the Spike, realising it was too soon after Christmas for my publicity to have taken effect. Imagine my astonishment when, yesterday, I received ten enquiries for Guildford Oakley Singers, a day before launch, as people slowly unfurled from their post-Christmas fug. And this morning a further three keen new members greeted me at the door to the Spike Community Centre where I had gone to make sure nobody turned up to the cancelled rehearsal. So with thirteen and more to go, we will definitely be launching next week, the 12th January. What a thrilling start!