Choir embarks on ambitious project

Conductor Graham Wili
Conductor Graham Wili
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The Leconfield Singers are promising their own ‘mini-Glyndebourne’ in the grounds of a private estate near Wisborough Green.

On Saturday, June 29, they will present Concert in the Garden at Hawkhurst Court.

Jill Button, chairman and founder of The Leconfield Singers, said: “The varied programme includes both classical and modern choral music, with something for everyone, including opera choruses and arias, traditional and new folksongs, a selection from My Fair Lady and some popular songs from more recent times by artists including Enya and Eric Clapton.

“The concert also features solo performances from Gail Pearson, one of the UK’s most respected and experienced sopranos and internationally-renowned baritone Dyfed Wyn Evans.

“Pianist Joanna Kent, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music and who has appeared at The Wigmore Hall, will accompany the 70-strong choir under the dynamic guidance of musical director and conductor Graham Wili.

“In the hour before the performance, the 420 ticket-holders will be invited to explore the semi-formal seven-acre gardens garden of Hawkhurst House, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Arthur Bullard. They are invited to bring picnics to enjoy during the 90-minute interval.”

Jill added: “One of the main aims of The Leconfield Singers is to sing and learn together, with members taking pleasure from the joy of shared achievements. Our Concert in the Garden will combine top-class choral entertainment, including two internationally-acclaimed soloists, with the opportunity to picnic in one of the most attractive hidden gardens in the local area.

“This is an ambitious project for a choir that has been in existence for barely a year but is made possible because of the training and inspiration provided by our musical director and conductor Graham Wili, who has a unique talent for nurturing fantastic performances from non-audition choirs.”

There will be collection in the interval for The Brain Tumour Charity and Chestnut Tree Hospice.

The Concert in the Garden is on June 29. The garden opens at 5.30pm; the performance begins at 6.30pm. Tickets are available from the box office at Spriggs in New Street, Petworth; 01798 345133 (£25 for adults; £12.50 for children under 16).

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By Phil Hewitt