Surrey Heath Singers takes an active part in the life of our local community in and around the Surrey Heath Borough. Every year, we sing carols in many settings, some private, some public, some out-of-doors (always memorable!) and some, of course, in halls and concourses. We sing carols in a number of local care homes each year, and in 2013 we joined a “ward round” in Frimley Park Hospital with other volunteers to sing for patients on Christmas Eve.
A lovely innovation in 2013 was the Candlelit Carols evening in late November, where Surrey Heath Borough Council and its Greenspace team invited us to put on a carol concert in Frimley Lodge Park after dark. Our mayor, Councillor Beverley Harding, opened the concert, and it just took off from there. With a large tree and night lighting, it was a special evening, made magical when a number of young children decided to start impromptu dancing in the middle, even one girl showing her moves with her motorised wheelchair. We look forward to this event building into a great tradition for our Borough.
Not all our community activities take place at Christmas. In September 2010, we took a stall at the Siemens Fun Day, and performed a number of songs from our recent summer concert. The organisers very kindly gave us a 10-minute slot every hour when the Fun Day PA system was turned off so that we could sing unchallenged! This was the start of a relationship with Siemens, whose community outreach principles are similar to those of the Singers. We are grateful for their donation of £1000 that helped us buy a PA system that we can use for community events.
We are very proud to be the “choir in residence” at Frimley Park Hospital, responding whenever they ask us for a choir to sing at services in the hospital. We have sung at bereavement services, but also at the hospital’s annual Trust Service, which celebrates the mission of healing.
Going out and performing in a community venue is a challenge, because we have no control over the location or acoustics, and we either bring a keyboard, make do with what is there or do without. We depend on our members to volunteer, so the range of voices and numbers on the day can vary considerably. We are always in preparation for our next concert, and the chances are that the music we are rehearsing is not suitable for this community performance.