CAPACITY crowd at The Anvil last Sunday evening for 2018 Basingstoke Festival of Choirs, Voices Together. The Belles of St Martin’s joined eleven other choirs from across the borough to give a spirited performance of an eclectic mix of songs, all for the joy of singing together and to raise money for The Ark cancer centre charity. Following the national anthem, the auditorium was plunged into darkness for the opening piece, ‘O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, a piece familiar to many thanks to its wide-ranging use in many films and TV shows. Mark Jones, (Mark from The Ark!) welcomed everyone and thanked the BFOC for choosing The Ark as its charity for this year’s performance and thanks particularly to Dai Ogborn and Marilyn Wright, chairman and secretary of BFOC for all the inspiration and meticulous arrangements that made the concert possible, also, musical directors and accompanists of all choirs who put us through our paces to make us performance ready. Finally, thanks to Neil Streeter and the amazing Heritage Light Orchestra who as always played perfectly. Perhaps the children of St Mary’s CE Junior School Choir stole the show with their beautiful singing and their perfect behaviour while others were singing. It was a privilege to take part and sing a wide range of songs including Rhythm of Life, chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, I’d like to Teach the World to Sing, Adiemus, When the Saints Go Marching In and finally Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Although all choirs go our separate ways until we get together in two years’ time, many friendships have been formed and I suspect a few musical collaborations will follow so to coin a phrase…’Keep Listening!’

IN STARK contrast, tonight’s offering from the Social & Entertainment Club is 12 Angry Men (Millennium Hall, Cliddesden from 7.30pm). A classic drama set in a jury room where 11 jurors consider the accused to be guilty and one lone juror stands out against the majority. Billed as a great insight into human nature; opinions sway back and forth as different arguments take centre-stage. The ebb and flow of the plot is fascinating. The film is set entirely in a single room during a New York heatwave adding to the claustrophobia and tension…alternatively you could come to yoga at Ellisfield Memorial Hall from 7pm.