East Sussex Community Choir silver celebration

Mary Benjamin, one of the longest serving members of East Sussex Community Choir
Mary Benjamin, one of the longest serving members of East Sussex Community Choir

Voices will ring out in harmony this summer as a community choir celebrates a landmark anniversary.

East Sussex Community Choir has helped hundreds of people indulge their love of singing and performed at venues around the UK and Europe since it was formed in the summer of 1988.

To mark its silver jubilee, the choir, part of East Sussex County Council’s music service, will perform Haydn’s Creation, featuring a full orchestra and professional soloists, and host a celebratory lunch.

Conductor Nick Houghton, who is head of music at the East Sussex Academy of Music, in Lewes, said: “Ours is a very welcoming choir and includes people from all walks of life and levels of experience.

“As well as being stimulating musically, singing as part of a choir is a nice social activity, and is also good for you as it gets the endorphins flowing and makes you feel good.”

Mary Benjamin, from Lewes, is one of the choir’s longest serving members, having joined the fledgling group in its early days under charismatic founder conductor Roger Durston, then head of the county music service.

She said: “One of the good things about the choir is that you don’t have to go through an audition – you can just come along and sing.”

The group stages three concerts a year, including its well-attended annual ‘Christmas Cracker’, and acts as ambassadors for the county music service on its overseas tours.

The choir will perform Haydn’s Creation at Lewes Town Hall on Saturday, June 29, at 7.30pm, featuring soprano Lucinda Houghton, tenor Paul Austin Kelly and bass Stephen Charlesworth.

Tickets (£12/£6) are available on 01273 336770 or from Lewes Tourist Information Centre on 01273 483448.