Littlehampton singing group The Edwin James Festival Choir have gained the key of the door as they celebrate 21 years of singing and raising funds for local charities.
Spokeswoman Madeleine Wadley said: “The milestone event was celebrated with a three-course dinner served at The Vardar Restaurant in Littlehampton attended by choir and orchestra members and their partners, patrons and friends, together with representatives from Chestnut Tree House, St Barnabas House Hospice and St Wilfrid’s Hospice, the three local charities nominated for the year to July 2019.
“The choir was initially formed on August 1 1998 by James Rushman and Chris Allen and, from the humble beginnings of a debut concert at St James’s Church with just a handful of members performing alongside guest singers from the Revusicals, the Edwin James Festival Choir now boasts some 82 members and 87 patrons.
“Following initial welcome speeches from president James Rushman and chairman Noel Caplin, the evening continued with the choir’s own special Grace sung to the tune of Thank you for the Music.”
“There are always opportunities to sing at the choir’s birthday dinner and this year was no exception with Summer Holiday and Summer Nights enthusiastically voiced during the evening.”
The choir Annual Awards Ceremony followed on with presentations made to thank and recognise members nominated and subsequently voted on for their special contributions to the choir during the year.
The Edwin James Award for members of three years or more was presented to Carol Harris by James Rushman, while the best newcomer, Lou Salmon, was presented with The Myrtle Allen Award by Chris Allen. Winner of the Janet Martin Award and voted best supporting member outside of the committee, was Keith Mingay. The final accolade of the night went to Stuart Capelin who received The President’s Award for his outstanding support of the choir.
The evening continued when James Rushman, president and musical director, introduced the representatives of the choir’s chosen charities for the year to July 2019.”
James said: “I am so proud of what the choir and orchestra have achieved over the past 21 years, not only because of their wonderful standard of singing but together we’ve raised thousands of pounds for what are very worthwhile local causes. Currently the total stands at over £145,000 which is truly amazing.
“Our choir motto is Music is Life and it certainly is for us. Singing in a choir is so beneficial healthwise, and it has been a tremendous boost to members who have either joined us following sickness or trauma in their lives or indeed long-term members who have suffered illness or bereavement. We are more like a family than a community group, and we support each other whenever needed.”
Each of the charities received a cheque for £1,000 raised from various concerts performed during the year, plus a further donation of £500 each from the bucket collections. The picture shows shows (left to right) Alex Burch (St. Wilfrid’s Hospice), Chris Allen and James Rushman (Edwin James Festival Choir) and Wendy Bardsley (St Barnabas House Hospice). The evening finished with a raffle arranged by chairman Noel Caplin.
The Edwin James Festival Choir will perform their next concert A Time for Remembrance, alongside visiting guests The Loughborough Male Voice Choir, on, September 28. There will also be an opportunity to light a candle in remembrance of loved ones as well as those who have lost their lives in conflicts. Admission free; doors 6.45pm.