Despite the bitterly cold weather, there was an exceedingly warm welcome for the performers at a fundraising evening for Friends of the Belarusian Children's Hospice. A very special guest was Anna Garchakova, the founder and director of the Belarusian Children's Hospice based in Minsk. Strings and Things was performed on 10th January at the Catholic church in Great Missenden and was timed to coincide with Russian Orthodox Christmas. The event raised nearly £1400.
The programme of verse and music was a delightful mix of serious and light-hearted pieces. The evening was the inspiration of Chesham personality Ann Crisp who was also the main contributor. She read pieces by Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Dorothy Parker, Hardy, Betjeman and Victoria Wood amongst others and two of her own poems. Ann captured the mood and feeling of each piece by adapting her voice, intonation and pace of delivery. Ann's characterisation and interpretation of the varied readings were inspired and convincing.
Clive and Louise Pearce, a classical guitar duo, gave an assured performance of English and Catalan folk songs and the evocative theme from the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo. In the second half, they were joined by the talented Simon Pearce and played the jolly trio in C major by Leonhard Von Call.
Seventeen year old Rachel Nolan, accompanied by Richard King, sang two Mozart arias with accomplishment. Hers is a voice worth listening out for in the future.
Peter Harris, a trustee of the charity, treated us to four pieces including the amusing 'An un-parliamentary scene' by Montgomery Hyde.
During the interval, wine, Russian spice cake and canapйs were served and the audience had an opportunity to meet and speak with Anna Garchakova. Also while she was staying in Amersham, Anna gave out Belarusian chocolates and Christmas cards containing a message of thanks to supporters of Friends in Great Missenden and Wendover. Her packed schedule included visits to grant making trusts and the London based Russian Business Club.
Thanks to all the performers who made this such a wonderful evening.
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