On a fine Saturday, a total of 95 singers gathered at Amersham Free Church to rehearse and then perform two works by Fauré: the Cantique de Jean Racine and his Requiem. The majority of performers were members of AMCHOR (Amersham Choral Society) with several other local choirs represented. One singer came from as far away as Coventry! AMCHOR’s conductor, Mark Austin, was in charge of proceedings, and Janet Churchhouse, their regular accompanist, played the piano.
After various warm-up exercises we tackled the pieces by Faure. The majority of those present had sung them before but, in the very able hands of Mark, were keen to explore them in more detail. Appropriate breathing was the key to a good sound, we came to understand. Towards the end of the three hours of intense rehearsal time we were joined by the two soloists, baritone George Robarts and soprano Betty Makharinsky, whose beautiful singing certainly encouraged us to aspire to higher standards!
Everyone then had a well-earned break during which we moved to the church hall for tea and cakes. What cakes! An array of delicious home-made offerings from members of AMCHOR and Friends of BCH trustees greeted us and all were warmly appreciated by those present. There was plenty of time for socialising before we reconvened for the performance.
After a few words about AMCHOR by its secretary, Jenny Harrison, and details of plans to introduce a programme of western-style physiotherapy to the long-term sick children at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, outlined by Friends of BCH chairwoman Daryl Ann Hardman, an audience of 60 people listened to our best efforts to attain the high singing standards demanded by Mark, even from a scratch choir. While not a faultless performance, the result was worthy of the audience’s warm appreciation. More importantly, the whole afternoon was very much enjoyed by all who took part.
Proceeds from the event were split between AMCHOR and Friends of BCH with the retiring collection solely in favour of the latter charity. A very pleasing total sum of £870 was gratefully received by Friends of BCH.