Who are we?
A brief introduction to the choir
The choir was formed in the autumn of 1997 in order to sing at a Christmas service at Central Hall run by the Community Church. Initially the choir was formed almost entirely from members of that church but it was never intended to be a church choir, and membership has always been open to all, which is what the word “community” in our name means; we are from the wider community and sing in the community. That the church has the same word in its name does cause some confusion sometimes.
Initially the choir disbanded after this Christmas event and was reformed just for a similar event at Easter, and then reformed again for Christmas 1998. After this we decided to become a permanent choir to do other events throughout the year.
The Early Days
By Christmas '98 we had ditched the dodgy costume, but you can't say the same about some of the other folk on the stage
Easter 1998 at the Central Hall, the choir sporting some rather questionable home dyed shirts and somewhat more hair than now
Births, Marriages and Deaths
What would a wedding be without a gospel choir? We sometimes sing at weddings, and inexplicably were not asked to provide the gospel song at the Royal Wedding in 2018, despite 'Stand by Me' being in our regular repertoire.
We are sure it was just an
oversight and they'd meant
to ask us.
Usually the couple will come to a regular choir practice and
listen to what we have on offer, it's rather like a private recital
just for an audience of two. Needless to say, we have performed at the weddings of
some of our members because the choir is a bit like an extended family for the long standing members.
There was a period during the early life of the choir when several members were having babies, and frequently there would be a sleeping baby in a car seat at the back of choir practice. The choir sang at the baby thanksgiving services for some of these children, who will now be about 20 years old, and one of whom has sung at a concert with us.
Although we have been asked to sing at a number of funerals and memorial services, on a number of occasions for the Piam Brown children's cancer ward at Southampton General Hospital, it was not until recently that we sang at the funeral of one of our own.
The choir member in question had asked us to sing the South African song Shosholoza at her funeral because she enjoyed the song so much. The song was sung at Nelson Mandela's funeral in 2013. We were pleased to be able to do so despite the
sadness of the occasion.
Mandela's supporters singing outside his house on hearing of his death
We have published two CDs, one has non-seasonal material on it, some from a workshop day which was run by Pete Churchill from the Guildhall School of Music, the other CD from 2004 has a wide range of Christmas music.
There is also in existence a cassette tape (Yes, remember those?) of Christmas folk carols from 1998, some of which made their way onto the later CD.
One of the staples of the choir's year is to sing at charity events be they concerts or just in a shopping centre; some organised internally and some under external auspices. One which regularly makes our calendar is The Big Christmas Sing, a concert with audience participation in support of Christian Aid. This usually takes place in the first week of December.
Also, biennially the well known Comic Relief Red Nose Day event where we ditch the choir uniforms but don't actually sing anything funny – we let people who actually are funny get the laughs. Needless to say in these events we are usually joined by other folk, notably the Parkewood School of Dance, the Sing Out Choir and Highfield School Singing Club. In the past we sang regularly at the Wessex Cancer Trust annual Christmas carol concert at Romsey Abbey, a prestigious event in a very impressive venue. We also sing in less spectacular venues in support of local charities like Abby's Heroes and national ones like Shelter Box. The logos above will link to the charities' websites.
More history to come...
Freedom Concert 2013
To mark the 180th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, a musical presentation written by was given its première at King's Community Church in Hedge End. The piece took the form of recounting a series of the pivotal court cases which led to the eventual abolition act in 1833.
Several different types of musical groups and
choirs took various parts in the retelling,
including a certain gospel choir.