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The early days of the Burford Singers

Janet Jeffs recently reminisced about the Burford Singers 40 years ago:

July 1979 was a busy month for the Burford Singers, and the sun shone throughout.

In July 1979 the Burford Singers sang on BBC television. It wasn’t exactly peak viewing hours, but we were invited to reinforce the Burford Church congregation for two episodes of Sunday Worship with Canon Peter Firth and the Rev David Middleton, the first a live broadcast on the theme of “The Soil”, when we also recorded the second episode, “The River”. They were broadcast on 8th and 15th July on BBC1 at around midday. On 8th July the choir performed Judas was a red-headed man, a Somerset folk-song arranged by alto Faith Sharp, and on 15th July a song There is a river that makes glad the city of God. The BBC fee paid for us all to have lunch at The Bull in Burford after the recording: the choir was rather smaller then. At the time our conductor was Stephen Banfield.

On 13th/15th July we visited Jean and Ken Plant at Sidcote School in Somerset where Jean was teaching, and sang both in their sunny garden and at Axminster Church with the Burnham Singers. To a small but discerning audience, we performed Bach’s Singet den Herrn, with the Burnham Singers singing Choir 1 and Burford Singers Choir 2 (I think). I remember two things in particular apart from the music: being woken in Somerset frequently from about 4 a.m. by loud baaing from the sheep surrounding the school; and with some trepidation watching ourselves on the Sunday Worship programme, recorded the previous weekend.

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