Every two years internationally amateur singers combine in concerts to raise funds for the Hospice movement and every year Winchester Cathedral offers its facilities free for a charitable cause.
Voices for Hospices Choir are happy to be that charity choir for 2019, and even happier to announce that they have raised £21,000 for seven Hampshire based Hospices: Countess of Brecknock, Countess Mountbatten, Naomi House & Jacksplace, Oakhaven, Rowans, St Michael’s and the soon to be opened Winchester Hospice.
On the 12th of October, 500 singers plus orchestra and a stellar line-up of soloists performed Mendelssohn’s Elijah in a packed Cathedral. The Nave was re-set sideways with orchestra and soloists by Wykeham’s Chantry and the huge choir flanked either side. The large audience squeezed into remaining spaces like the north aisle and on the Chancel Steps.
From the Dean’s welcome and preliminary messages about the increasing demands made on this charity to the joyously committed performance of the whole piece this was an uplifting and thought-provoking event made all the more special by the generosity of all who took part.
Doyen of many previous such occasions at home and abroad, John Sutton conducted and with his wife Jennifer Shell was the driving force behind the organisation. Jennifer even managed to be a dramatic soloist in the part of the Widow. She was joined by soprano Helen Bailey, alto Fiona Mackay, tenor Conor Breen and Cathedral chorister William Holmes as the Youth. William and his sister Eleanor lit symbolic candles before the performance in memory of their own grandmother who died recently.
A justifiably major draw for the evening was the imperious tone of Elijah sung with massive conviction and great dignity by none other than Sir Thomas Allen, making this very special music-making for a very special cause.
If you’d like to help with VfHChoir’s fundraising for local hospices, please visit www.vfhchoir.com/donate/