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Community choir hits a new high note with a Jazz Festival invite

Mayor Edwina Fogg presents the Waits Badge to the choirMayor Edwina Fogg presents the Waits Badge to the choirMarlborough’s Community Choir, launched 18 months ago on an ad hoc basis that anyone can join in at any time, has achieved a new distinction – being invited to take part in the Jazz Service at St Mary’s Church, Marlborough, on July 15.

The invitation is the highlight of a hectic summer during which the choir has also been invited to give a concert at Marlborough’s International Jazz Festival next year.

“We discovered them too late for the choir to have a spot of their own in this year’s festival,” said Nick Fogg, the Jazz Festival founder and consultant. “So we asked them to sing at our Jazz Service.”

And the choir, which can attract as many as 50 people attending impromptu sessions at St Peter’s Church, has now chosen to sing a Ukrainian hymn, Tibie Pieom, at the Jazz Service.

“It is a gospel version of Amazing Grace and we will sing it a gospel finale at the church along with audience participation,” said choir leader Vanessa Lafaye, a writer and photographer originally from Florida.

“It’s been quite a summer so far for the choir. We’ve sung in baking sunshine in the High Street when the Olympic torch arrived in the town, in the damp town hall for the relocated diamond jubilee picnic, and in pelting rain for the Manton Festival.

“Along the way we’ve acquired an honour from Edwina Fogg, Marlborough’s jubilee mayor, in the form of a Waits Badge, which is historically awarded to minstrels who serve a particular locality.”

She added: “The choir was thrilled to receive the award and for that to be followed by an invitation to take part in the Jazz Service. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to so many important occasions in the town.”

George Haslam, Joanna Peskett, Kerry and Tom McKenna will be taking part in the International Jazz Festival service aided by hymn singing led by the Jazzports.

It is at St Mary’s church at 10am on July 15.

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