Harmony 303 choir

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Upcoming Events:

Event:Choir trip to Barcelona
Location:Catalonia
Date:October 18th, 2018
Description:

The plan is to have a relaxing tour interspersed with performances at various venues.



Event:Concert in Aid of St Margaret’s Hospice and WaterAid
Location:Edgar Hall, Somerton, TA11 6SB
Date:November 9th, 2018
Description:

We will join members of other local choirs to sing three songs from the repertoire in Aid of St Margaret's Hospice and WaterAid. Rehearsal in the venue at 6pm, Concert at 7pm.



Event:Dillington Christmas Fair
Location:Dillington House
Date:December 1st, 2018
Description:

We have been invited to sing Seasonal songs as we did last year at the Dillington Christmas Fair.  Rehearsal at 3.30pm, room to be confirmed, performance at 4.30pm.



Event:Harmony 303 Choir Christmas Sharing and refreshments
Location:Norton sub Hamdon Village Hall
Date:December 11th, 2018
Description:

Please invite guests to arrive at our annual Christmas sharing for 11.15am. Performance at 11.30am.

MARTOCK & ASH COMMUNITY CHOIR SING FOR WATER – AGAIN!

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On a very hot Sunday morning in July, some forty or more Harmony 303 singers were transported to Bristol to ‘Sing For Water’. This is a concert for which choirs learn learn the same songs over a few months, then come together for one massive performance. Each choir commits to raise a certain amount of money for Water Aid, which the charity uses to bring clean water to people in some of the poorest parts of the world- currently they are in Rwanda. This is the third time Harmony 303 have supported this initiative, and each year our choir has raised more money; this time the total raised – through craft, produce, book and pre-loved item sales, workshops, practice dvds for singers, coffee mornings et al. – was some £2,500.

The total number of singers taking part this year was in excess of 1000, so the concert was in two parts, half singing at midday, then the other half after lunch break. We were in the second half so we had chance to listen to the songs – and the sound was overwhelming. Used as we are to some 50 or 60 or so of us singing together, we were engulfed by a wave – a tsunami of sound, as 500 plus voices raised the roof of the Passenger Shed at Bristol station, all singing ‘our’ songs. Amazing!

But, if we were moved when listening, the experience of singing later was even more awesome. Surrounded by sound, and – because of excellent acoustics – able to hear all the harmonies, it was a truly uplifting experience. Interestingly, one song that some of us hadn’t much liked – ‘So Much Magnificence (in the Ocean)’ absolutely came into its own, and the final soaring crescendo of ‘Hallelujah’ from all parts of the massed choir was nothing short of the magnificence it sang of. Thus, perhaps inevitably, the simple beauty of our final song, ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ proved too much, and the line ‘when tears are in your eyes…’ took on a whole new meaning for some of us. Simon & Garfunkel did well, but Harmony 303 and the massed ‘Sing for Water’ choir in a railway shed in Bristol on a hot day in July 2018 did better, believe me.

Jenny Becker

Dillington Christmas Fair

Dillington

Songs and Scones at Stourhead

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Songs and Scones : Stourhead 2017

What a delightful experience : Stourhead on a beautiful autumn day, with the sun shining and lots of visitors to enjoy our singing.

Saturday 23rd of September, the coach takes us up the arterial road for which we are named and pulls into the car park near the visitors centre at Stourhead. Time for a quick coffee before going through the National Trust’s entrance and down the slope to the Spreadeagle, the first of three venues!

We assemble in the courtyard of the Spreadeagle Tavern, sort out music and positions and erect the Harmony 303 banner, a splash of blue against the red of the old bricks, and the golds and browns of the just turning leaves.

We were ready! Caroline called us to order and our singing could begin. With her customary energy Caroline led us in renditions of some of our favourite songs. A delightful welcome to visitors as they came through the arch into the courtyard on their way to the lake and gardens. And they stopped, listened and enjoyed if we can judge by their faces and applause.

On to the second venue, less enclosed, more open to wind and movement, the café our backdrop. We sing a couple of songs (enjoyed by the passing audience as much as the free samples of cider and cheese from the farmshop). How lovely for the visitors to sit enjoying the sun and listening to us sing.

As one of our new songs says “It’s looking like a beautiful day”, rich colours of changing leaves, lots of people to sing for, and some of our favourite songs – Bele Mama, Every Voice Shall Sing, Mingulay Boatsong – Basses with great gusto!, New Jerusalem , Alleluia!Then picnics and lunch for us – chatter and laughter with each other and with the other visitors.

Come on, we’re not finished yet! Off we go across the valley and up to the House itself, right in front of the sweeping steps and columns. Now we have the view, out across Dorset to Shaftesbury and beyond. But no dreaming there, Caroline as ever is still full of energy, and where she leads…

This is a great spot to sing. Somehow the building holds and offers the sound to the audience, who are now behind and above as well as in front. Each venue has been different from the others, each with its own ambiance and of its own ‘promenade’ audience. And here in front of aristocratic splendour, worthy of Harmony 303, members of the audience say “Best performance yet! Well done!” A splendid finale to a joyous day out!

Time for tea and a chance to relax and savour the delicious scones offered free by the National Trust as a “thank you” for coming to sing. “Oh but, by the way, you’ll have to pay if you want cream and maybe jam”!

A day with so many lovely memories!

Summer Barn Dance

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Celebrations

 

CELEBRATIONS

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Harmony 303 have had cause for celebration on two occasions recently, both of which we rose to with our signature enthusiasm and enjoyment.

 

The first was a celebration of ourselves: the Harmony 303 choir has been singing for five years- a landmark indeed. Ros Beattie’s inspiration, that Martock & Ash should have a community choir, was realised in May 2011, when some forty or so interested people turned up at Ash Village Hall for the very first session, under the leadership of Caroline Rigby. Ros has since said that she really had not expected such a response. But that was just the beginning; today, five years down the line, we are a massive choir of 70 plus singers – with a waiting list. Perhaps the biggest change over these five years has been in the bass (male) section, which has grown from a fairly tentative handful to a hearty section of some 15 or more singers, who really make their presence felt.

 

And it is not just about the singing; there is a very happy camaraderie amongst Harmony 303 members – we talk, we laugh, we enjoy. Which is just what happened on our actual ‘Birthday’ which we celebrated with fizz, natch, and utterly delicious cake, courtesy of Penny, our own amazing in-house professional cake-maker.  And the press came too, to help mark the occasion, teetering on step ladders in order to capture us tout ensemble on camera.

 

Apart from our weekly gathering – now in Norton Village Hall since we rapidly outgrew Ash – we have sung in National Trust houses, in Prague, in Martock precinct, in Bristol with a thousand other singers at the ‘Sing for Water’ event, and at a member’s funeral in Martock church. We have been saddened by the loss of two other members, and we’ve done a lot of fund-raising for WaterAid. These five years have flown by; singing is a joy to all of us, and we look forward joyfully to our next anniversary.

 

The second celebration that we have just enjoyed was that of the wedding of one of our members, who invited Harmony 303 to sing at the occasion. Some forty of us shared the privilege of being part of Steph’s wedding to Bob in the lovely gardens of Tintinhull House.  We were scheduled to sing after the ceremony, which took place in the summerhouse, so we heard vows being exchanged in this delightful setting before assembling under a gazebo in the adjacent garden, poised ready to sing some of Steph’s very favourite songs from our repertoire as she and Bob – now man & wife – walked from the summerhouse. It is no exaggeration to say that Steph looked radiant- a vision in a long red gown and gorgeous creamy-white picture hat. Having this information- the colour scheme- in advance, the choir had endeavoured to reflect the theme, and it is wholly fair to say that we had all made a jolly good effort. Many shades of red and varieties of cream, yet all melded happily to present a united – even perhaps quite fetching-front.

And we so loved singing; most of Steph’s favourites were favourites for all of us, and we sang with gusto, opening with the rousing ‘Bamba lela’. Caroline, animated and encouraging as ever, led us from one song to the next, and we finished our first set with  ‘Beyond the Sea’  Then a short break, during which we enjoyed fizz & canapés and a bit of mingling, then back to the second half, starting with the gospel-style’ Woke up this morning’ and finishing with the very apt ‘Love can Build a Bridge’  Quite emotional actually……It was all so very enjoyable from start to finish.

Harmony 303 are, I feel, rather good at celebration.

JSB

June 2016

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