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Choirs enjoy a bigger festival

MORE than 100 singers joined together for the roof-raising finales of an annual festival in Bognor Regis.


Some 200 men and women took part in the town’s second ChoirFest to build on the success of last year’s initial version.


A total of nine choirs showed their vocal skills to several hundred spectators at the Regis Centre during last weekend.


Both days ended with the choirs forming an ensemble for the German folk song, Music Alone Shall Live.


One of the event’s hosts, James Etheridge, said: “This festival is a great platform for community choirs to come together, network and listen to each other perform different songs from different genres.


“This is a completely non-competitive event. All those in ChoirFest sing for fun.


“They love singing. They join the choirs for an hour and a half a week and they don’t have to think about anything else.”


ChoirFest began as a single day at the Regis Centre last year after James and his fellow organisers of Bersted Arts – Michael Gattrell and Will Hackett – joined with Hazel Latus, of the centre’s operator, Arun Arts, to stage a community event.


Its popularity led to double the number of choirs in this year’s expanded festival. Those who took part last Saturday were Inspirations Community Choir (Littlehampton), RAFA 381 Branch Choir (Bognor Regis), The Igloo Choir (Wickham) and Get Singing! (Chichester).


Sunday’s line-up was Art of Dance and Fitness Adult Choir (South Bersted), Chi Choir (Chichester), The Arun Sounds (North Bersted), Ditchling Singers (Lewes) and The Bersted Community Choir (North Bersted).


Michael said: “A lot of people who took part will never have performed in a theatre before in front of an audience. They will have been used to singing in a school hall or a community centre.”


RAFA 381 Branch Choir co-ordinator Sue Coyne said: “The event was extremely well organised. From start to finish, you know what is happpening.


“I spoke to all our singers afterwards and they had good feedback from all of them. Singing makes you feel good and this is a great event to do it at.”

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