Choir sings for Ukraine

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A proud Carly Bryant leads her flock of singers at a concert in 2019

As the nation emerges blinking into the sunshine of a post-lockdown world, it is only natural that many are looking for the stimulation and excitement of live entertainment once again.

So for the first time since December 2019, the Marsh Choir is preparing to provide the very best in rock and pop songs at two free charity concerts – once again at the ‘Cathedral of the Marsh’, All Saints Church in Lydd.

The pair of concerts take place on the evenings of Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7 with doors opening for the fully licensed bar at 6pm.

The choir’s inspirational leader, musician Carly Bryant is excited about the prospect of shepherding her flock of singers through a repertoire of favourite songs from the 20th and 21st centuries, including those by the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and Lulu.

“It’s nearly two-and-a-half years since we’ve been able to put on a concert, so we’re desperate to deliver another pair of great shows to the Marsh!” says Carly. “The choir is sounding fantastic, and I can’t wait for us to open our hearts and lungs – and sing out loud!”

The 2019 concerts raised funds for local charities including Caring Altogether on Romney Marsh (CARM), but the choir’s spring concerts will have a different beneficiary.

“We were delighted with how much we managed to raise for local charities in 2019, but this year the Russian invasion of Ukraine has focused our efforts on raising funds for the Ukraine Crisis Appeal,” said Carly.

There are now 300 members of six different choir groups across Romney Marsh from Rye to Hythe, including an adults special needs group (SiNG) which meets in Lydd every Friday morning.

Carly established the choirs on her return to her Kent roots, after touring the world for many years as a solo artist, and performing with a variety of bands in front of audiences of tens of thousands.

“I was keen to create a choir that anybody felt comfortable to be part of – no auditions, no embarrassing moments – just a big, luscious sound and a lot of laughs!” enthuses Carly. “Members of our flock have noticed that regular group singing has helped their self-esteem, as well as their mental and physical health. Choirs are also great places to develop new and long-lasting friendships.”

A concert at Lydd Church on April 2 by the SiNG choir raised £419 from the raffle alone, which together with the ticket money and several extra donations, means that the group will be able to make a much-anticipated coach trip with their carers to see the smash hit musical, Mamma Mia. This good news story, together with the unshakeable manner in which the choir kept singing throughout the pandemic, demonstrates how the Marsh Choir really is a vital source of positivity and community spirit.

While the pandemic has had a severe impact on the ability of the groups to meet in person, the Marsh Choir groups have been working hard remotely to produce creative versions of varied musical styles, including Mozart’s Lacrimosa, the Wellerman sea shanty and the bombastic rock operatic Bohemian Rhapsody. The resulting videos and all information about the Marsh Choir can be found at  www.marshchoir.com or on Facebook.

Image Credits: Carly Bryant .

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