It was a desire to create something in Didcot which would pull people together, be welcoming to anyone regardless of faith or lack of it, age, race, ability or disability, and serve the local community which led to the formation of the Didcot Community Gospel Choir in 2009. Brainchild of Fr Edward Carter, the choir undertook its first public engagement in February 2010 at the Cornerstone. Since then the choir has gone on to raise several thousand pounds for both local and international charities including Didcot TRAIN, Helen & Douglas House, Kenya Children’s Fund, PACT, ShelterBox and the The Nasio Trust. We have also collaborated with two local schools, Northbourne Primary School in Didcot and Fir Tree School in Wallingford to help them raise funds, at St Peter’s and English Martyrs churches in Didcot, Dorchester Abbey, Didcot Town Fayre and the annual Good Friday service outside Sainsbury’s, and we have performed open air outside Cornerstone arts centre.
Our singers, around 100 at present, come from all parts of Didcot and the surrounding villages and range in age from 16 to, well, we don’t care! We neither hold auditions nor charge subscriptions.You don’t have to be able to read music, because everything is ‘taught by ear’. The only ‘qualification’ needed is a desire to sing. We meet our costs (mainly musicians’ fees and rehearsal expenses) through donations and concert ticket sales and we sing a very wide range of music, from gospel and classical, to folk and pop ballads. The group is led by two professional musicians, Sarah Tenant-Flowers and Mark Stanley. Rehearsals are on alternate Wednesdays at St Peter’s, 7:30pm to 9:15pm, and all are welcome, whether you are trying us out for the first time or a regular singer.