Horsham Chamber Choir offer folk-inspired programme

Horsham Chamber Choir is performing a programme based on British folk music on Saturday, June 24 at St John’s Church Hall in Horsham.
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Joining them will be Carol Moore, Horsham Chamber Choir’s longest standing member, 40 years a chorister and still going strong.

Carol, originally from south London, said: “At Garratt Green school in Wandsworth we had a very traditional music teacher who, when she retired, was replaced by a young Australian. He inherited her regular hymn practices for school assemblies, but instead of just running through what we needed to learn bellowed in front of us 2,000 girls ‘Give us a G!’, then ‘Give us an A!’ and so on to spell Garratt. He injected life into music for us, and we’d never heard anything like it. We loved it.”

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His enthusiasm and keenness to get a school choir started clearly lit the spark for Carol’s life-long love of choral music. A bit of a musical desert followed when Carol went to college.


She moved to Horsham after she got married to Graham, and a colleague of his who also lived in the town spotted an advert in the WSCT in 1982 about a choir looking for new voices, and suggested she and Carol should sign up. It was then called the Horsham Bach Choir, but had been started in 1967 by the Rev Stuart King, vicar of St John’s church in Broadbridge Heath. Laurie Carcas, who also founded the West Sussex Philharmonic Choir, took it over the following year. Roger Gaunt had recently become its latest conductor.

Carol recalls: “Roger led us for four or five years, and his successor Neil Bennett subsequently changed our name to Horsham Chamber Choir. But our longest standing conductor was Stephen Buckman, who led us for some 12 years up to about 2010. We’ve had many memorable moments, such as performances in places like Norwich, Bristol, Hereford and Worcester cathedrals. But my most memorable one – which actually happened twice, the second time about 20 years ago now – has to be when we went to Vienna to sing in the Advent Festival. I place that right up there as one of the highlights of my life, not just with the choir.

“You don’t have to be a choral scholar to sing with us, but equally you can’t hide in such a small choir. If you can sing in tune and you have a bit of musicianship, that’s more than enough. The sense of achievement of pulling something off that is a bit tricky is really quite strong. I can vouch for that!”

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Somerset duo Alex Garden (fiddle, vocals) and Ford Collier (guitar, tin whistle, vocals), otherwise known as The Drystones, will be joining Horsham Chamber Choir for the concert at St John’s Roman Catholic Church Hall in Horsham at 7.30pm on June 24. Since forming in 2011 to play a last-minute slot at their local festival in Priddy, The Drystones have appeared twice on the Avalon Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, played to a 9,000-strong crowd at the Glastonbury Extravaganza and supported big names such as The Elephant Sessions, Steeleye Span, and Seth Lakeman at venues across England. Tickets priced at £15 (and £8 for under 18s) are available through the website at www.horsham-chamberchoir.org.uk or on the door.

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