We are delighted that we have been chosen to take part in the Co-op Local Community Fund.  At a time when funds for community groups and charitable organisations are becoming more difficult to access, we’re incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference in and around Penistone.

We are raising funds to help more people to experience the benefits of singing in a community choir by holding recruitment events and choir tasters.  The choir (now 50 strong) provides a forum for local women, many of whom are elderly, to have regular social contact. It also helps to enhance physical and mental wellbeing – singing in a community choir is proven to have several physiological and psychological benefits. The choir enhances the cultural offer of local venues and works collaboratively with other choirs in the area to encourage young singers and musicians and give them a platform to develop through guest performances at concerts and events. It gives members the opportunity to experience the sense of accomplishment that performance can bring. The choir also contributes to local events – for example singing at charity and commemorative events and supporting local music festivals. https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/32996

To help us raise vital funds, we’re relying on Co-op members. When a member buys selected products or services from the Co-op they earn a five per cent reward for themselves, with a further one per cent for local causes like ours.  Co-op members can choose a cause by going online www.coop.co.uk/membership. We really hope that people will visit the website and choose to support us.  If you’re not a member and would like to support us, you can join at your local store or online at www.coop.co.uk.

When a community comes together we’re able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help promote our project.  We’ll keep you up to date with the total that we have all raised on our Facebook and Twitter sites:

Penistone Ladies Choir on Facebook

Penistone Ladies Choir on Twitter

We’re off to Prague! It is a few years since our last choir trip abroad which was to Normandy.  It was mooted that it was time for another overseas trip, so when we received an email invitation from the Prague Festival Office to go to one of their choral meetings, we jumped on the idea!  They take place throughout the year, but we have chosen the Spring Choral Meeting in early May.  It is not a competition but a chance to meet other choirs from different countries, sing together and make new friends and visit the sights in the beautiful Old Town of Prague.  We will have two 30-minute performances, in churches in the old town and will also take part in a friendship concert with all the other choirs.

Roughly half the choir have signed up to go, some taking family or friends to also enjoy the experience and sightseeing.  It will be fascinating to hear all the other choirs, which could be from any genre: mixed, male, women, children, barbershop, gospel, church choir, Gregorian music, instrumental vocal ensemble…

The Concert Choir is an exciting ad-hoc choral project dreamt up by our own MD Jane Hobson & Daniel Timmins. Thirteen of us from Penistone Ladies Choir signed up to join over 140 others from 28 different Yorkshire choirs, to learn and perform both Vivaldi’s Gloria and Faure’s Requiem. Having signed up a whole year ago, we went along to rehearsals, from February to May this year, usually either Sunday afternoons, or Wednesday evenings in The Methodist Church in Skelmanthorpe. The project culminated in two performances in the UK in Sheffield and Wakefield cathedrals and for a slightly smaller group, a trip to Malta to sing in 3 magnificent churches there.

    


Rehearsals were challenging, especially when they were increased to 3 hours long, but the camaraderie was fantastic, and we revelled in the chance to sing in those two great choral works. Some people were experienced singers, belonging to one choir or more, others did not sing in a choir at all, nor read music. It all went very quickly and almost as soon as you blinked, we only had a couple of rehearsals left before the performances.
It was magnificent to sing in Sheffield & Wakefield cathedrals, and we had sell-out audiences to sing to on both nights. We didn’t know exactly what it would sound like until the final rehearsal in Sheffield Cathedral, as we had never before been joined by the small orchestra, but the harp and trumpets in particular were fabulous. Such a full sound!
Eight of us had chosen to go on tour to Malta, four nights, three of them with concerts, with free time and sightseeing during the day. The sun shone and all went very smoothly. The last concert in the magnificent Mosta Dome will for sure remain with us all forever, with amazing acoustics, an audience of well over 300 and a standing ovation!

The whole project was a true “experience of a lifetime”. Bring on the next Concert Choir project!!

Saturday 13th April saw us all on a coach to Whitby for the annual Eskdale Music Festival.  We had an early start in Penistone at 9.00am.  Less than two hours later we were at the coast, on a beautiful, clear, sunny but very cold day.  We had a few hours to while away before we were to rehearse at 2.00pm & perform at 3.00pm.  Some of us wandered into Whitby for an early fish ‘n chip lunch, to buy kippers and fresh crab, others stayed warm in the Pavillion.

Elation! We won!

Our trip coincided with Whitby Goth Weekend, so there were certainly some spectacles to be seen, although we couldn’t quite work out what some of the costumes were meant to be.  It was almost “Anything Goes”, so long as it was black, purple, or gold & had feathers.

Then we were singing….  We warmed up in a corridor (we have done worse!), very narrow, steamy and squishy for two full choirs!  We entered two classes:- the Christmas In April class & the Ladies Choir class.  In the Christmas class we were competing against ourselves, as we sang firstly on our own as Penistone Ladies, then with our chums Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir, as “Yorkshire Mixtures”.

We were blown away to come away with two first places & two cups, for both the Christmas and the Ladies Class.  Incredibly the Ladies Class included the set piece of Mr Sandman, which very few of us felt confident about and which usually brought about a big groan every time Jane asked us to rehearse it.   Thanks Jane for your confidence in us…our view of Mr Sandman may just change now!

It was also lovely to see Skelmanthorpe MVC placed second & third in their classes and thanks to them for joining forces with us once again.

We have just registered Penistone Ladies Choir as a Voices Yorkshire Choir. From 1858 to 1985, Leeds was host to one of the most successful and renowned choral festivals in the world. But by 1985, the popularity of choral music and choirs had started to wane. However as we go into 2019, choral music and choirs have gained massively in popularity and a new 21st century version is being set up by the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama under the title “Voices Yorkshire”. This aims to celebrate, promote and support choirs and choral music throughout the county and put Yorkshire back on the world musical and choral map! The festival will culminate in a number of grand finale performances at Leeds Town Hall on the 14th September 2019.
We are proud to be supporting this “Voices Yorkshire” festival and so will be including the festival logo on our website and other concert literature throughout 2019.

We were thrilled to take first prize in the Female Voice Choirs class at the Penistone Competitive Music Festival on Saturday 29 September. And with it we were awarded The Alice Milnes Memorial Trophy. We were up against two other local choirs and sang two contrasting pieces of our choice “Lit’le David Play on yo Harp” and El Condor Pasa.
There were three special things about the day…the first was that it was the 50th Annual Festival. Secondly, the trophy that we won was commissioned by our choir in memory of Alice Milnes, who had a long association with the choir. The third is more to do with the male voice choir in our neighbouring village of Millhouse Green, as they founded the whole festival. We were delighted to see them coming first too, in their Male Voice Choir Class, in this 50th year!
The final class of the day was the Open Challenge Choral Class, in which 7 choirs participated – ladies’ choirs, male voice and mixed voice choirs. As the adjudicator, Marilynne Davies commented, it is unusual to have 7 choirs competing in an open class, when it is a festival that takes place in just one day. We weren’t placed in the evening class, but loved taking part, competing with and listening to all the other choirs.

On Friday 20th July, we sang at a glorious summer wedding.  We had been asked to sing at the wedding of Charlotte Foster-Ash and Ian Robert Garratt.  Charlotte is the cousin of Sarah, one of our second sopranos.  The wedding was at the majestic Holy Trinity Church in Wentworth, a large church with a spire seen for miles around.  As you approach the church there is an extremely long tree-lined drive.

 

We sang several pieces as the guests gathered in the church awaiting the bride’s arrival.    During the signing of the register, Sarah sang “Songbird” so beautifully that it made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck! Then at the end of the service, we sang “Happy Together” as the wedding party walked out of church into the sunshine.

It really was an honour for us to sing at Charlotte & Ian’s wedding.  What was so lovely was that they came to our last rehearsal the week before to listen in – probably knowing that their minds would be on other things on the day!

If anyone is interested in the choir singing at their wedding, do contact us…we will be happy to discuss with you what you would like us to sing.

On Saturday 21st April, over 40 choir members and a few partners put on their glad rags and went to Whitley Hall Hotel, Sheffield for our annual choir lunch.  Read more