Kilndown Choir AGM, 23rd October 2023
Musical Director’s Report
2023 marked the 10th birthday of the Kilndown Community Choir – an amazing achievement! Those first few tentative rehearsals under Dominic’s direction don’t seem that long ago, but what an amazing journey we have been on since then! We have numerous concerts under our belt, learned hundreds of pieces of music and literally raised thousands of pounds for charity, all whilst having a jolly good time! The impact on Sarah and myself in particular has been incredible – taking us both from amateur musicians to leading the choir- what a journey!
2023 itself has been yet another amazing year for the Choir – we are sounding great, tackling some quite challenging pieces of music, have held two amazing concerts and are working on some beautiful Christmas repertoire! Membership numbers are also really healthy and have now picked up following a dip during the Covid years. I’m delighted to welcome several new members and some “returners” who have boosted the numbers and brought great talents with them. It’s always a struggle getting the right balance to a choir, and we could do with a few more basses, but the mix is pretty good, and I’m delighted that we are doing so well in the tenor section!
As always, our two concerts for the year were wonderful. Our 2022 Christmas concert took a more reflective tone than usual, given the ongoing events in Ukraine. We had a good audience, despite snow and sub-zero temperatures almost scuppering final rehearsals and preventing some from attending on the night. Iryna’s rendition of a Ukrainian folk song was incredibly moving and left barely a dry eye in the house. That was contrasted by the various carols and Christmas songs sung by the choir, rounded off with mulled wine and mince pies, filling both the audience and choir with festive cheer!
Our 10th Anniversary Concert in July was an absolute triumph! I hope everyone enjoyed choosing and revisiting some old favourites from our extensive repertoire. The concert itself was amazing – in contrast to the Christmas concert it was one of the warmest evenings of the summer! We really raised the roof of the village hall and had a great audience who thoroughly enjoyed plenty of audience participation, and, of course, picnicking on the village green with a Pimms or two!
One of the wonderful by-products of our concerts is our ability to raise money for charity. The Christmas concert raised £750, split between the Weald Family Hub, British Red Cross and Kent Kindness. The summer concert raised over £1300 which we intend to put towards a much needed new piano for the church, hopefully supplemented by additional funds from this year’s Christmas concert.
I hope everyone is looking forward to this year’s Christmas concert on 16th December, and to any other Christmas events which we might be asked to sing at. It’s a great time of year to be part of a choir!
As you’ll appreciate, a lot of work goes into running the choir and Sarah and I are grateful for the support of our amazing committee – Tina, Hilary, Sonja, Richard and Roger. If anyone is interested in getting more involved, either as a committee member or on a less formal basis, please let us know. Some help with producing posters/publicity materials, printing and circulating music, setting up for concerts and general admin support for meetings would be much appreciated.
Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sarah for providing such amazing support as Assistant Musical Director, to Kerne for his incredible skills as our accompanist, and of course to all of you as choir members – we couldn’t do it without you!
Julian Wells 23/10/23