Recent Events

Mayflower Court Care Home

Portswood, Southampton. Saturday 10th February 2024 2pm

Our first outing of the year was at this rather large care home in Portswood. We sang in their comfortable library. We are quite used to outnumbering our audience, but rarely with so few of us on show.


The nine of us sang a range of standards, gospels and hymns and there was a bit of singing along by those residents brave enough to listen to us.

There is a large garden to the rear of the home which can be seen in  the picture above, and a suggestion was made that we might return in the summer for an outdoor concert.

Glo oooooo oooooo oooooo oooooo ooooooria!

South Western Arms, St. Denys.  Friday 22nd December 2023


If one trip to the pub is fun, then two must be twice as much fun.

This time at the South Western Arms, which the more astute reader will realise is next to the railway in St. Denys.

On Monday at the Wellington Arms we had outnumbered the customers two to one. Not on Friday. We were far fewer, the pub was heaving, and lots of folk had turned up for the event bedecked in Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. Looked like a good start.

South Western Arms Facebook page:

The way we run these sessions is to hand out lists of songs on which the customers tick off their favourite carols and songs, whereupon we sing them. Simples!

Funnily enough almost everyone chose Ding Dong Merrily on High - they just love the long Gloria in the chorus.


Anyway the singing was enthusiastic and by the time we came to the Twelve Days of Christmas they were rocking.

A really good way to get in the festive mood.

Carols at Snowdrop Place Care Home

Tuesday 19th December 2023

We had anticipated visiting this care home for the first time to spread a little Christmas cheer, but an outbreak of covid in the home gave us pause for thought.

Whilst there were only 3 cases we were still going, but at 6pm the number had risen to 9 and in addition one of our number who had been singing with us on the previous evening at the Wellington Arms had also become ill, so at a record short notice we decided to cancel.


We definitely owe them a visit.

A trip to the pub

Wellington Arms, Shirley.  Monday 18th December 2023

The last choir practice of the year was exchanged for a session in the pub.


16 of us went to the Wellington Arms and led a small but crucially, not diminishing group of customers who variously joined in the carolling.


Afterwards the landlady gave us a large tray of mince pies.

Now, your correspondent's wife makes the best mince pies in the world so he almost never eats commercial mince pies.

On this occasion, seeing the scale of the pie pile he thought he might just indulge,(it would be churlish to allow them to go to waste after all) only to find that the choir had hoovered them all up whilst he was talking to a customer.


Ah well.


Wellington Arms Facebook page:

Radio Solent

 Tuesday 12th Dec 2023

As we often say, everyone wants a choir at Christmas, and this day was no exception.

As is often the case, Radio Solent broadcast a different carol each day in the lead up to Christmas, but this year there was a twist...

             As it was to be a Carol it therefore had to be in the Car Park, which caused the recording engineer some headaches. We needed 4 takes to get a reasonably clean recording without fire engine sirens, traffic noise and loud squawking seagulls, to say nothing of our own singing.

Songs in the Studio perhaps?

Renditions on the Radio?

Wassails in the Workshop maybe?

Alliteration was the order of the day.

We were asked to turn up to their premises to perform one song for recording.    

Hopefully the good burghers of the Solent region will soon get to hear our version of

             Performed here by the Zambian Vocal Group whom we think are the original artists.

A Car Park is possibly not the most salubrious gig venue we have ever had, with ironically a "Strictly No Parking" sign behind us

Gloria in the Gallery

Southampton Art Gallery Saturday 9th Dec 2023

The goose, as they say, is getting fat, and so it's off to the Art Gallery with its magnificent vaulted ceiling which makes us sound a lot better than perhaps we really are.

The Gallery do quite like extra activities going on, and on this occasion there had been a concert by a flute choir in the morning before our spot.

Ordinarily, without chairs, the audience would drift away as the strain of standing became too great, but this time there were still plenty left at the end, with some standing behind the chairs.

Christmas. The time of year everyone loves a carol.

We sang for about an hour of our Christmas repertoire, and in a master stroke the staff had put out about 30 chairs, and Lo and Behold (to use a seasonal term)

folk started to fill the chairs in eager

anticipation of the jollity to come.

Sunday Church Service

Winchester Prison   Sunday 3rd December 2023

After our visit in July we made a return trip to Winchester Prison to lead a Sunday morning church service with a Christmas theme.

Once again the the congregation was smaller, only about 40 this time on account of an incident in the prison so fewer inmates were able to come. This reminded us just how difficult life must be inside.

We used a mixture of well known carols for communal singing as well as a few of our own arrangements which  we sang to the congregation.

We led some prayers and a Bible reading as is normal in such gatherings.

There was much enthusiastic singing, and in chatting afterwards the men were appreciative of us coming.

St Margaret Mary Roman Catholic church in Park Gate has a modern building and is very light and airy. We were engaged to sing at a family baptismal service, and it was one of those occasions where even though we were low on numbers the choir still outnumbered the congregation, including the baby who was very cute.

We sang a mixture of hymns, gospels

and the song Sizo Hamba Naye from Eswatini which is in the Swati language, and translates as "We will walk with God, my brothers"

which is very appropriate for a baptism.

Afterwards the child's mother gave us each one of these 'favours' containing sugared almonds and chocolate eggs which is apparently a tradition in some places.

Baptismal Service

  Saturday 11th November 2023

Singing at Northlands Care Home

Saturday 15th October 2023

We sang about an hour long short concert for a number of residents in the dining room. This turned out to be about 16 who sang along and clearly appreciated our mix of gospels, African songs and spirituals.


Not that King John, well, perhaps that King John,

but more like this:

Upon arrival we thought that there was no electrical supply for our keyboard in this medieval location, and because the event was seriously short of stewards there was no-one to disabuse us of this idea.

Thanks to the previous act, Uke Box Glory for

playing on whilst we sorted ourselves out.


Uke Box Glory FB page

A small but appreciative audience (including some former choir types whom we constantly try to lure back into the fold with promises of cake) heard our eclectic set of songs, even asking for an encore.

Music in the City

September 23rd  King John's Palace


Once again we took part in this remarkable event. There were hundreds of acts and dozens of venues.

We were allocated a spot at King John's palace, which has

obviously had some raucous music there before because

the roof has been raised.

Click here to see the Daily Echo's report on the event, including an actual picture of the choir in action amongst the sea shanty singers and others.

Wedding Reception


The Winchester Club  Saturday 15th July 2023

It was a real delight to sing at Bev and JP's wedding reception. Bev has been a member of the choir for ages, and so we were more than pleased to do this for her.


The bride and groom's outfits were stunning, by the way, and a possible template for some new choir costume.

There was about an hour to fill between guests appearing and the dinner, and the set list chosen by the bride herself was warmly received, Bev joining in with us for about half of the numbers, and a few guests could be lip read singing along as well.

Sunday Church Service

Winchester Prison   Sunday 2nd July 2023

After our visit in November we made a return trip to Winchester Prison to lead another Sunday morning church service.

There was a smaller congregation than last time because there was a clash with families visiting day but the couple of dozen there clearly enjoyed the event.


We used a mixture of well known songs for communal singing as well as some where we sang to the congregation.

It's so much easier when the congregation sings along enthusiastically.

It was good to chat with the men afterwards as well.

Scones and songs  

St. Mary's South Stoneham Sunday 25th June 2023

Ah, one of the fine combinations of life! A concert of jolly songs old and new, gospel and standard, coupled with tea, scones and cake.

What a fine way to spend a few hours on a sunny Summer afternoon!

We sashay'd up, we sang, we scoffed and we sang again.


There was a satisfyingly large audience including a number of former choir members who were all keen to sing along when we sort of forced them to.

The Gospel medley round was particularly chaotic, but in a fun way with choir members leading groups of the audience from within.

A few days after the event we were told that a sum of about £400 was raised for the inevitable church roof fund which was particularly pleasing.

Lunchtime Concert at the Art Gallery

Saturday 1st April 2023

One of our choir members works in the Museums service, and so he's able to get us a spot to sing in this lovely space.

They do quite like extra activities going on,  so there's not that much persuasion.


We sang for about an hour of our regular repertoire, and a fair few folk stopped by to listen, some for the whole concert, and some chatted afterwards which is always nice.


This time we had arranged for a small film crew from Shedlight Productions

to make a short film of us. Shedlight are a small company whose goal

is to help people communicate their goals by way of film, and in our case

there were a few mini interviews and then some footage from the concert, focussing on our very own Easter song "Love Arose". The film can be viewed from the Home page.

Singing at a care home

Saturday 25th March 2023

Our first outing of 2023 saw us visiting the Hampton Lodge care home in Southampton.

We sang a short concert for as many of the residents who were able to get to the day room.

Guessing what the audience would appreciate we sang a variety of gospels and some hymns, and there was a bit of singing along.


Afterwards a few of us visited one of the residents whom we have known for many years, but was too frail to come to the day room, so we sang a private concert for her in her room.


Singalong at the Art Gallery

Saturday 17th December 2022

One entertaining facet of this gig was that as soon as your humble correspondent arrived, with wife and former-choir-member-from-five-years-ago-daughter in tow, the solitary alto present grasped aforesaid daughter and pressed her into being a ringer for this gig (not a bell ringer).

There were a few new songs which have been added in the 5 years since she was last in the choir, but her presence was gratefully received, and who doesn't like singing in a choir at Christmas?


We sang for about an hour of our Christmas repertoire, entertaining a few folk who were taking a break from the hurly burly of Christmas shopping. Although I said 'singalong', there wasn't actually any singing along, though anyone was welcome to do so.


Our final outing of the year saw us at the Art Gallery which has a high vaulted ceiling, and has a really long acoustic.

It really is a lovely place to sing.


The church was full of about 30 Christmas trees each decorated by one of the many local groups

Christmas Tree Festival


Sunday 11th December 2022


St. James Church West End

On this occasion there was a very small audience, or rather, a congregation as our set was billed as Carols among the Trees, and included Bible reading, poetry and prayers, provided by the St. James staff.


It was intended to round off the festival which had been running for the weekend.


Maggies is a charity which provides cancer support and information, and we were asked to sing at their fund raising concert.

Charity concert


Thursday 8th December 2022


St. James Rd Methodist church

There was an audience of about 50 who enjoyed the event, making it a pleasant experience for us as well.

The West End Singers were scheduled to sing in the second half of the event, including the community singalong carols, so we were free to perform our more unusual Christmas repertoire.

After a fairly long planning phase we finally visited Winchester Prison to lead a Sunday morning church service. We'd done this once before, more years ago than your humble correspondent wishes to recall.

Sunday Church Service


Sunday 27th November 2022


Winchester Prison

There was a congregation of about 40 who clearly enjoyed the event, making it a pleasant experience for us as well.

We used a mixture of well known songs and a few of our own arrangements, including the singalong Gospel Medley which was particularly well received.

It's so much easier when the congregation sings along enthusiastically.

it was good to chat with the men afterwards as well.

The 14th annual Music in the City festival saw us singing in upstars space in God's House Tower, alight and airy space where there was an art exhibition



There was a bit of singing along going on which is always gratifying, and Mark from the Psalm Drummers provided rhythms which improved the sound greatly.

We sang a range of gospel and other songs to an audience of about 40, containing a number of former choir members.


The sun shone brightly through the glass roof and it was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Music in the City 


Saturday 24th September 2022


God's House Tower Southampton


The afternoon saw the world premiere of the song "Love Arose" an upbeat gospel Easter number written specially for the choir by our director

Taize Service 


Friday 17th June 2022


This was a quiet contemplative church service in the small    chapel of All Saints in Winchester Rd Southampton.

The service marked the end of a week of prayer,

and the choir led in some Taize style worship.

              

It was very good to have our director, Penny

back at the helm after a long illness.            



Carols on the street

Wednesday 22nd December 2021


It seems like only a year since we were singing carols at the end of Brownlow Gardens in Southampton, which is because it was. This time about 10 choir members joined the fun.

Once again plenty of residents came out to join in and there was some raucous carolling including the well known carol While Shepherds Watched their Flocks to the equally well known tune of 'On Ilkley Moor bar t' 'at.

After this we beetled off to a back alley in Shirley to do another set with diferent locals, all illuminated by mobile phone lights, and a few sparklers. We were accompanied by our choir director playing the keyboard from her summer house in the back garden with a loudspeaker standing in the alley which worked quite well.


There are no photos of these events as it was rather dark in both locations.

The service was

streamed online

here

Carols by Candlelight

Sunday 19th December 2021


A fairly modern carol service at Holy Saviour, Bitterne, which, despite the billing, had very limited candles because the vicar had discovered that the disposable face masks some people wear are very flammable so extra flames seemed a risk too far.

We sang African Noel, a song in the Kituba language , Good News, a gospel number and a gospelly version of the carol Away in a Manger.