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Wincanton's Got Talent

Saturday 22 June 2013, 00:05
By John Baxter

The evening of Saturday 8th June saw the Parish Church packed with people of all ages for what was a rather special event. For months the building has been encased in scaffolding and much of the interior closed and its roof covered in an envelope of tarpaulins while it was being repaired and refurbished.

Now, with this first phase completed it was time to see the church emerge all spruced up and ready for a celebration.

The plan was for the congregation to lay on a free concert for the people of the town and all who have supported the roof fund. This has resulted in a most enjoyable evening which really gave everyone a chance to hear local musical talent.

The Pilgrim Singers

The programme started and finished with the Pilgrim Singers, an ecumenical choir consisting of some thirty members who practice together weekly and are led by Jane Fenton with her accomplished accompanist Sophy.

They presented a new and varied programme of folk songs - Gaelic, Congolese, Hebrew, English and American - together with Gregorian Chant and modern songs with an environmental twist by Bob Chilcott.

Many of these worked as rounds with the sopranos, altos, tenors and bases coming in one after the other and harmonising with each other. As usual with Jane the programme was cleverly balanced to explore a wide range of styles and emotions and not a little humour.

The Soul Sister Choir, from King Arthur's School

Next we were introduced to the musicians of King Arthur's led by their teacher Emma Fletcher, who brought along three groups, The Soul Sister choir, the Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra. The Soul Sisters came dressed in white and brought us several contemporary hits.

The Soul Sisters performing their innovative iPhone Harmony

Three of them then amazed us with their own arrangement of a song that involved them using the playback mechanism of an iPhone so they could harmonise against their own voices. The result was haunting, innovative and beautifully performed.

King Arthur's School Orchestra

The classical musicians then gave us rousing renditions of the William Tell overture and the James Bond theme.

King Arthur's flautist

The ladies of the church Social Committee had laid on a really wonderful spread of drinks and snacks which everyone enjoyed as they socialised during the interval.

Back in the pews it was time to hear a group who have been in Wincanton for 21 years and who have built up quite a reputation for their music nationally, but who few of us had heard before, to our great loss. The Wincantata Hand Bell Ringers are a group of eleven ringers lead by their conductor Rob Worrall.

Wincantata Bell Ringers

Their programme was a mix of the classical, the contemporary and the sacred and the level of performance quite exceptional. Ringing bells in an orchestral team takes total concentration and they played with precision and control, making their bells sing out with a purity and sensitivity which was deeply moving.

Wincantata Bell Ringers, close-up

The evening ended with the second half of the Pilgrim Singers' programme and a rousing rock and roll number, the Heavenly Aeroplane.

During the evening, the rector, the Revd Nigel Fever, in thanking everyone pointed out that the work on the church roof is planned as a first stage in a process of making the church building increasingly suitable for a range of community uses such as concerts and arts events, meetings and conferences. In other words the church recognises that old and beautiful buildings like parish churches need to be available for wider community use if the expenditure needed to keep them going is to be justified. This concert in fact showed how this can work for everyone.

There will soon be a video of part of Wincantata's performance available for anyone to view who visits Wincanton Museum in the Library.


Posts: 1
Wincanton really does have talent
Reply #1 on : Tue June 25, 2013, 16:07:06
Many of the younger performers also performed on Friday Night at the Memorial Hall for the King Arthur's Community School presented Summer Community Concert. The evening featured all three of our Town schools & was a wonderful event. Wincanton Town Silver Band with Youth members also performed & were, as usual, outstanding. It was encouraging to see that they have worked hard to involve the younger generation. The current talent contest at the Dolphin has also thrown up some real local gems, well done to all.

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