|Event:||Kingsbury Episcopi May Fair|
|Date:||May 7th, 2018|
We will be one of the choirs performing in the Methodist Chapel as part of the celebrations.
|Event:||Drop in Morning|
|Date:||July 10th, 2018|
Drop in Morning ( not a sharing ) for friends and family. Anytime between 10 and 12- just a normal Tuesday morning – guests can and listen and watch how we learn the songs - as we did last year.
Followed by refreshments for all at the end of the morning
|Event:||Sing for Wateraid|
|Location:||The Passenger Shed , Templemeads Bristol.|
|Date:||July 15th, 2018|
The following is part of a message from Wendy Sargeant who will be coordinating the songs this year.
"We’re going to be in the Passenger Shed at Temple Meads station next year, which means we’ll have an amazing acoustic that will lend itself to long chords and spine-tingling harmonies. So I’m working on songs that will make the most of that.
|Event:||Caroline’s Come and Sing Workshop|
|Location:||Norton Village Hall|
|Date:||August 6th, 2018|
Caroline’s Come and Sing Workshop- songs from the repertoire ( no new songs to learn )
A minimum of 20 members will be needed for this to be viable.
Tuesday 6th August in Norton Village Hall
10 am to 11.30 cost - £5 on the day
Songs and Scones at Stourhead
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!
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 Rob 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 Rob – 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.
Sing for water 2016
SING FOR WATER- BATH 2016
Harmony 303 took part in – and enjoyed – ‘Sing for Water’ in Bristol in 2013, so the opportunity to sing again at Bath was welcomed by some 40 or more members, most of whom had had the Bristol experience. Bath was different in many ways-the weather, the venue, the organisation et al- but it too proved to be a memorable day.
The weather was remarkable: it veered from sunshine and blue skies to inky clouds, deluge and sudden cold and mighty winds – oh so much different from the scorching heat of Bristol. And the most notable veering happened in the time it took for the first half of the choir to leave the (metaphorical) stage, and the second half – which included Harmony 303 – to take it. It was extraordinary timing on the part of the weather gods, who threw everything at us mid-first line of our first song, and had us breaking rank to scrabble for waterproofs and umbrellas from the bags at our feet. I was bemused by the umbrellas insofar as they completely obscured sight of our conductor for anyone standing behind one, but up they went nonetheless. Whatever happened to suffering for one’s art? But as is ever the way with people who get together to sing, good humour prevailed relentlessly, and the rain and associated inconveniences really didn’t matter.
The venue was amazing- the backdrop being the Royal Crescent, which was so much more attractive than the stone amphitheatre of the docks at Bristol. However, acoustically it was not comparable: our voices flew away with the wind, and with no hard surfaces from which to bounce back, the sound we produced belied the fact that we were a nearly-1000 strong choir. We- the Harmony choir- had an advantage in being able to listen to the other half of the singers before we performed, so we were aware that we needed to make as much noise as was possible. And I think we did; it wasn’t a competition in any sense, but getting up second to sing the same songs ( except one) made it feel a bit like one- no bad thing in terms of trying really hard!
The best bit was when we all joined together again, the sun came out, the audience -stoically remaining through the rain- applauded, and songs that we loved singing came out just right. The prevailing theme of the songs was water- some of which have since become part of Harmony’s repertoire,”Boat on a River’, ‘Beyond the Sea’- as well as some with no watery connection, like ” I Won’t Back Down’, which we just liked. It sounded amazing with so many singers at Bath.
Our conductors- a different one for each song- deserve a mention, because they were splendid, standing on a not very robust looking scaffold platform, gesticulating and yelling, retaining good humour in tricky conditions, encouraging, praising. Other memorable aspects of the day were the wonderful porta-loos (!), a group singing African songs with choreographed movements whilst we had lunch, a poignant poem that was read to us, the camaraderie. ‘Sing for Water’ is about raising money for Water Aid, but it is also an opportunity to share a love of singing with strangers, who somehow are not strangers, but are fellow-singers by the end of the day.