Wensum, by Jim Harding, March 10, 2015

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Let’s talk singing for a change. For the past couple of years and more I’ve been going along to choir sessions with the Sing for Joy group which meets every Monday afternoon in term time at the Salvation Army Hall.

This is just one of many choirs in the area which have blossomed over the past decade. Our mentor has been Teresa Verney who established the group in the first place and conducts similar sessions in Sheringham, Norwich and North Walsham.

Most of us don’t read music and are untrained as such but with encouragement we have managed to scale, if not the heights, certainly the foothills. It’s been a very positive experience.

Teresa has now taken on another challenge which prevents her from continuing with the Fakenham crowd, leaving us all wondering whether this was the beginning of the end.

Happily, it’s not. One of the regulars, Lindsey Bestwicke, has stepped into the breach and agreed to keep things rolling.

That’s some challenge but so far, so good.

n In similar territory I had signed up for the Come and Sing day organised by Fakenham Choral Society but was prevented from attending for family reasons.

It was great to learn that more than 200 songsters from 56 different choirs, some from as far afield as Northumberland and Cheshire, enrolled and were put through their paces by musical director Janet Kelsey in the community centre.

The emphasis throughout was for the choir to learn and put on an evening performance in the parish church of Faure’s Requiem.

How demanding is that, virtually from scratch?

Cometh the hour they rose to the occasion in front of a packed audience, accompanied by pianist James Laird. Soprano Frances Kelsey was unwell on the day so Alice Furniss took her place admirably. Baritone Tom Appleton, well known as musical director of Lynn Festival Chorus, was also outstanding.

The whole occasion was a triumph and a terrific achievement after just one day’s rehearsal.

Thanks were bestowed on the church for waiving its booking fee and the many local businesses who had backed the venture in various ways without charging. It was, after all, a charitable event and there was great delight to learn that £3,600 had been raised for the Tapping House Hospice in Hillington.

All the singers had put in £10 as their contribution, entrance to the concert had been free but a raffle, a bucket collection and refreshments had all been generously supported.

A cheque will be formally presented to the hospice prior to the Choral Society’s next concert in the church on Saturday, March 21, at 7.30pm.

The choir will be performing Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem. Tickets at £15 – under 18s free - may be booked on 01328 830639 or obtained on the door.

n Once again our racecourse will provide a special treat for its visitors on Cheltenham Gold Cup day, this coming Friday.

In addition to enjoying a six – or maybe seven – race card, patrons will be able to see all the action from Cheltenham via the big screen in the centre of the track.

This has been a standing dish for many years now with many of the bookmakers offering bets at both meetings. It really makes for a great day out.