Swindon AdvertiserPraise be for leader Sheila (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Praise be for leader Sheila

Swindon Advertiser: Sheila Harrod conducting the choir Sheila Harrod conducting the choir

THE 300 people packed into Christ Church on Saturday night for the High Sheriff of Wiltshire’s Charity Concert left Sheila Harrod humbled after 50 years in the business.

In what was the 12th year of the concert, which raises money for Swindon Carers Centre and Alzheimer’s Society, Kentwood Show Choir took to the stage for its third successive year.

Almost £7,000 was raised for the two charities on the night, through ticket sales, advertising in the event’s programme and donations from those who could not attend.

Fronted by Sheila, founder and musical director of the group, there were 16 songs performed, but despite half-a-century of live performances, the crowd was able to inspire.

“It was wonderful,” said Sheila, who celebrated her 70th birthday earlier this year.

“The choir was called for a sound check at 6.30pm and people were already coming in. Every year they do this they raise a lot of money. This is our third year. They invited us again because we were popular.

“It was a terrific concert. When we are invited to perform somewhere, I always look at the concert first, because we can’t go to every one we are invited to. There are very good acoustics in the church and the audience were right behind us from the start.

“It was just us performing all night. We had a standing ovation at the end – that was lovely. I feel very humbled when I walk out to see so many people in that church. Live music must never go out.

“It’s so easy to put on backing tracks because it costs less. It was just lovely to do it again in our 50th year.”

The 35-strong choir began with a 45-minute set and after a short break followed up with 90 minutes based around songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Those in attendance included the High Sheriff, Peter Addington, Lord Lieutenant Sarah Rose Troughton and new Swindon mayor Teresa Page.

The concert was organised, as it is every year, by Swindon Cares, which has raised more than £201,000 for charitable, community and voluntary organisations around the town to date.

Nicky Alberry, concert organiser for Swindon Cares, said: “It was absolutely wonderful. The Kentwood Show Choir were superb.

“We gave 30 tickets to each of the charities’ service users and it was wonderful to have them inside what was a full church.”

Nicky also thanked everyone who attended.

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