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Tonight's rehearsal (May 24th) is cancelled as it clashes with the re-ordering meeting at St. Mildred's Church.

Singers Go Alfresco for Her Majesty!

An exciting opportunity to sing in a marquee was enthusiastically embraced by the Tenterden Singers last Saturday, May 14th.

The Singers had been invited to perform in the afternoon as part of the Queen's Ninetieth Birthday festivities and their concert was well received.

“I did enjoy that” and “Excellent!” said two members of the audience. "I really like the wide variety of music you've included in your programme today," someone else commented.

Musical Director and Conductor Stephen Pusey said, “We were very pleased to have been able to make a significant contribution to the celebrations”

He introduced a selection of items from the current repertoire, including a reprise of some from their recent concert at Brookland.

The talented Kevin Bull again accompanied the Singers, undaunted by playing in a marquee!

Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses had donned their performance finery and later observed that, "Had all those listening been seated together, Saturday's concert would have represented the Singers' largest ever audience!"

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Tenterden Singers in Concert with “A Century of Music”

Saturday 23rd April at St Augustine's Church, Brookland

If you've never been to this church, put it on your “ Romney Marsh To-Do” List! It presents a very different image from others on the Marsh because it has a detached wooden bell tower.

The tower was built in the late 11th century as an open structure and was doubled in height to its present 60ft (18.3m) and clad with shingles in the 15th century. The belfry structure is no earlier than the second half of the 13th century. Years ago, timber specialists dated the carpentry to that period. In recent years, the scientists tell us that it is 1270, plus or minus a few years (tree-ring dating).

There was probably a church at Brookland in the 11th century (late for the Marsh) but there is no structural trace now. The fine interior of the 13th century church has the highest box pews on the Marsh and a double-decker pulpit complete with sounding board.

A medieval wall painting of the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket survives in the southeast chapel and a Norman lead font is still in use in the nave. This 12th century font is regarded as the most splendid moulded lead font in Britain

The box pews made for an interesting concert experience from the Singers' perspective, “We couldn't see the audience or their faces so were delighted to know how they felt from their applause!”

Revd Shuna Body of Brookland said how very pleased she had been to receive a telephone call asking if she'd like a concert in the church.

At the end of the concert she said “It was a wonderful mixture of music that was a delight to listen to. A truly magical evening.”

Her favourite musical item from the programme was “I Vow To Thee My Country” and she also particularly liked the readings.

In the region of £280 was raised on the evening, to swell the general funds.

In the rehearsal following the concert, Musical Director and Conductor, Stephen Pusey confessed himself pleased with the blends of sounds from the Singers on the night. Of particular note were the “Londonderry Air”, “Autumn Leaves”, “They Can't Take That Away From Me”; also the Rogers and Hammerstein and Carpenters items.

The hard work of the immediate pre-concert rehearsal and a strong dose of performance adrenalin paid off and “Summertime” looks set for inclusion in the repertoire.

Overheard at the end of the concert were some delightful comments, including, “They did all my favourites!” and “That was the best I've ever heard them sound!”

We're looking forward now to the afternoon of May 14th when we're hoping to be singing in a tent on Tenterden Recreation Ground as part of HM The Queen's Ninetieth Birthday Celebrations.

We hope to see you there – if you'd like to join us in rehearsal, do make yourself known to any member of the Super Sopranos, Amazing Altos, Terrific Tenors or Breathtaking Basses.

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ST AUGUSTINE CHURCH, BROOKLAND

St. Augustine's Church at Brookland is very different from the other Marsh churches. It has a detached bell tower.

According to legend the parishioners tried to build a tower on the church three times, and each time the devil blew it down. The parishioners decided to build the tower next to the church, and thus defeated the devil.

A more likely explanation is that the wet ground would not support the extra weight of a tower. The church is already suffering from subsidence.

The tower was built in the late 11th century as an open structure and was doubled in height to its present 60ft (18.3m) and clad with shingles in the 15th century.

The fine interior of the 13th century church has the highest box pews on the Marsh and a double-decker pulpit complete with sounding board.

A medieval wall painting of the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket survives in the southeast chapel and a Norman lead font is still in use in the nave.

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Smallhythe 500 Concert

If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket for the Smallhythe 500 concert on Friday 9th October, you experienced a wonderful treat.

The evening was a celebration of the rebirth of the village of Smallhythe after a disastrous fire five hundred years ago, and was the culmination of two years of events to mark the anniversary.

Providing the entertainment this evening were the Tenterden Singers, well known locally for their four part harmony style, often singing unaccompanied.

They performed a range of music to reflect the different periods of Smallhythe's history, beginning with medieval music and coming full circle to music for today.

Adding a sense of period was Steve Rivington who played a selection of medieval music on instruments from the period.

Tying all the evening together was well known local actor Ian Klemen who took his audience through the chequered history of this tiny village.

Who would realise, visiting Smallhythe today, that in the middle ages it was one of the major shipbuilding centres of England, and held this prestigious position for three hundred years.

In 1515 a disastrous fire destroyed the entire village. The villagers were determined not to be beaten by the disaster and set about rebuilding their community.

A lovely new brick built church, the village houses, and the wharves were all rebuilt.

Within thirty years, the silting up of the river channel signalled the end for Smallhythe as a major shipbuilding centre. The docks were dismantled and the land drained to make way for farming and the bucolic landscape Smallhythe enjoys today.

Choir director Stephen Pusey was delighted with the performance and the rapturous welcome from the audience. He thought this was the choir's best performance to date and said the members should be pleased with themselves. "Today," he said, "We made music. Well done everyone."

Stephen was particularly pleased with the rendition of "The Lamb" and the sense of drama in the excerpts from Faure's "Requiem."

Credit should also go to John Sewell, who provided the most atmospheric lighting effects, with a spectacular illumination of the stained glass windows from the outside, highlighting their beauty for the audience. Pianist Kevin Bull accompanied the Singers for some of their items and played Galiardia Dolorosa, a piece datng back to the late 16th Century.

Items currently in rehearsal include the beautiful "Autumn Leaves" and Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me."

If you enjoyed hearing the Tenterden Singers and are interested in joining them, contact them here.

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We were very pleased indeed to have been asked to be part of this commemoration - it's always good to be able to support a local event and a great delight to be able to perform with Ian Klemen.

We have been busy rehearsing at Homewood and refining our programme for several months now and our final rehearsal is this Tuesday in St John's Church at Smallhythe.

We have the running order established and it is a hugely mixed choral programme, hopefully with something for everyone. As usual we have both sacred and secular pieces, but this time if you fancy a madrigal or a sea shanty or an English folk song you're in luck - watch out particularly for John Whitworth's The Mermaid!

We also have pieces by Taverner, Rutter, Bruckner, Holst and Faure not to mention work by Thomas Tallis, David Willcocks and Bob Chilcott.

We are all set for an enjoyable evening, concert folders and glad rags at the ready and very much hope to see you there.

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Iden Green Concert

We will be in Concert again, on Saturday 11th April at 7.30pm in Iden Green Congregational Church, New Pond Road, Iden Green, Benenden TN17 4HA.

We've a lovely, varied programme of songs, which we are looking forward to performing.

Tickets will be available on the door - £8.

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In Rehearsal

Recent rehearsals have included:- Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus", arrangements by Chilcott and anthems by Rutter - an interesting variety of pieces to welcome some new faces!

In contrast to these, we've also been working on "Kumbayah", "Among The Leaves So Green, O"; Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" and lovely spiritual called "Deep River".

We were pleased to take delivery of two new songbooks and will be looking forward to including numbers from them in our forthcoming performance.

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Christmas

We were delighted to be invited to sing at several local events over the Christmas period.

We enjoyed singing at Homewood's Christmas Fair.

The Carol Service for the WI is always a delight, and the Tenterden Town Carol Service is very special.

We really enjoyed singing the Tchaikovsky carol, "When Jesus Christ Was Yet A Child" in St Mildred's


Very many thanks to Stuart Kirk for his excellent photograph.
Click here to visit Stuart's website

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Getting Tuned In

Our Tuesday Rehearsal dates for this year are now on the Diary Dates page. If you’ve a mind to join us, you’ve only missed the first rehearsal! We worked last week on two traditional songs with contemporary arrangements, one from John Rutter, the other by Bob Chilcott.

Our first concert this year will be on Saturday 5th April in St Mildred's Church and will be in aid of the Friends of West View Care Centre.

The visit to Avallon is planned for Friday, 23rd May, returning on Monday, 26th May. The concert will take place on the Saturday evening with our usual rehearsal in the afternoon.

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Happy New Year!

Did you make a New Year Resolution to sing? Our first rehearsal is next Tuesday, January 14th.

We'd be really pleased to see you at 7.50 in the Music Room at Homewood or you could email us at tenterden.singers@gmail.com for more information.

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Tenterden Town Carol Service

On Wednesday, December 18th we were delighted to take part, with other local singing groups, in the Town Carol Service at St Mildred's Church. This is the second year we have been invited to contribute to this event, organised by the Rotary Club of Tenterden.

We sang The Shepherd's Cradle Song by Karl Leuner.


Stuart Kirk's photograph of us that evening captures the moment beautifully.
Click here to visit Stuart's website

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All Saints, Lydd

On November 23rd 2013, the Reverend Sarah Williams welcomed us to All Saints, Lydd, the first time we had been invited to this beautiful and historic church.


Thanks to Fred Walker for the use of his photograph.

After our usual pre-concert rehearsal, we enjoyed a delightful tea, courtesy of the new kitchen facility and then went on to perform to a generous and enthusiastic audience.

Our Accompanist, Damien Smith, also contributed to our programme, with two vocal interludes; John Denver's Leaving On A Jet Plane during the first set and Pennies From Heaven (music by Arthur Johnston and words by Johnny Burke) during the second.

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The Diamond Jubilee

In April 2012 the Singers helped celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with a concert in St Mary's, Great Chart. Later that year we sang for the Tenterden Women's Institute Carol Service held in the Methodist Church and at the Town Carol Service held in St Mildred's Church.

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Gardeners' Question Time

In December 2011, BBC Radio 4 came to the Sinden Theatre to record an edition of Gardeners' Question Time and meet Members of Tenterden and other local Horticultural Societies.

Initially we had just been expecting to sing to the audience on arrival but we were then invited to sing carols to be used at the beginning and end of the programme.


We are busy rehearsing for our first public broadcast.

We performed A Babe Is Born I Wys (F. Bainton) and The Infant King (arranged by David Willcocks). The experience of being recorded professionally was something of a highlight for us and a treasured memory.

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E-mail us at tenterden.singers@gmail.com if you would like to join us.