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Registered Charity No. 1049352

Copyright 2015 Hardynge Choir

Honorary President: Sasha Johnson Manning

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Hardynge is the ancient name for Harpenden, dating from when it was a farming hamlet growing wheat for the nearby manor of Wheathampstead. The choir's name and logo symbolise these enduring connections.

The Hardynge Choir started in 1966 and continues to provide a challenging outlet for singers wishing to perform mostly the mainstream Choral Society repertoire. The choir currently has 70 to 80 members.  

There are no formal individual auditions for entry or ongoing membership.  We believe that singing should be taken seriously and worked at hard, but above all it should be fun and open to as many people as possible.

Three or four concerts are given each year, usually with professional orchestras and soloists.

Desert Island Carols

On Monday 14 December 2015, a large and appreciative audience at St John's Church on the Common, Harpenden, enjoyed Hardynge Choir’s annual carol concert with readings.  This year the carols were all suggested by choir members, as their favourite works, hence the title Desert Island Carols.

The concert opened with a performance of Stille Nacht, sung in German in subdued lighting.  The concert included Tchaikovsky’s beautiful and haunting The Crown of Roses, and Bethlehem Down by Peter Warlock, written allegedly to finance an "immortal carouse" (a heavy bout of drinking) on Christmas Eve 1927.  The audience joined and sang six popular carols, some of which were accompanied by excellent trumpet playing by Ryan Linham. Ryan also gave a superb trumpet solo performance of an arrangement of O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam.

The choir sang other works with a Christmas theme; The Shepherds’ Farewell, a very popular chorus from L’Enfance du Christ by Berlioz, and the well known For unto us a Child is born, from Part I of Handel’s Messiah.  That was followed by an organ solo given by Joseph Beech of The Pastoral Symphony, originally entitled “Pifa”, an instrumental interlude before the Christmas section in Handel's Messiah. Joseph later gave another very impressive organ solo, In Dulci Jubilo, BWV 729 by J.S. Bach.  Both he, and Matthew Woodward on the piano, accompanied various carols during the evening.  Matthew Woodward and Rufus Frowde gave a very spirited and upbeat performance of Leroy Anderson's seasonal favourite Sleigh Ride.

In 2012 the Hardynge Choir gave the first performance of The Hardynge Seasons, a delightful piece specially composed for us by our Honorary President, Sasha Johnson Manning. We have wanted to perform it again, so during this carol concert we sang one of the movements, Blow, blow thou winter wind, a setting of Shakespeare’s timeless words about ingratitude.  The concert ended with a rousing performance of Hark! the herald angels sing by choir and audience, and was followed by mulled wine and mince pies in St John’s Church Hall.



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