The next concert of the Henley Aliquando Choir is on Saturday 17 May at the Christ Church Centre from 7.30pm and is in aid of the Jacaranda Trust.
The concert will include two works by Morten Lauridsen ‘Dirait-on’ and ‘Sure on this Shining Night’, the ‘Seal Lullaby’ and ‘Sleep’ by Eric Whitacre and ‘In Haven’ and ‘Where Corals Lie’ from Edward Elgar’s wonderful songs cycle “Sea Pictures”.
Anita D’Attellis will play three Preludes by Gershwin – among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935)
Songs from Les Miserables and ZIMBE ‘come sing the songs of Africa’ make up the second half of the programme and introduces Henry Olonga to sing and speak about his experiences in Zimbabwe and since – also performing will be the Flame Lily Arts performing group.
The Jacaranda Trust was set up by Annie Allport and Hilary Dowling who were brought up in Rhodesia as it was then, now living in the Henley vicinity, and together with Toby Greenwood as Chairman, they are The Trust’s trustees.
The Trust supports several carefully chosen charities in Zimbabwe. However, the concert in May is for one charity in particular – RESCU which is a workshop and hostel for disabled men. It was set up in the 80’s by Annie’s parents as a training establishment to manufacture wheelchairs for the disabled – of which there are many due to atrocities of war, landmines and accidents. As the Zimbabwean economy slumped drastically in 2000 the raw materials were no longer available and the workshop closed although a number of people were still lodged in the hostel but have been unemployed since.
Rotary Zimbabwe are spearheading the Jaipur Foot initiative into Zimbabwe which means that the RESCU workshop may again be a centre for employment.
The Jaipur Foot (prosthetic limb) was invented by a family in Jaipur (strangely enough) for their own needs, but it was so easy and simply to assemble and fit, that news of its success soon spread nationwide. The Rotary organisation are bringing the concept to Africa from India as the terrain is so similar. RESCU will once again become a hive of industry as the disabled are trained in the assembly and fitting of the flat packed limbs.
Anne Evans, Musicial Director of the Choir said, “I don’t know about you, but I feel there is something so magnificent about such countries helping each other in the most basic of needs – the disabled will have a chance of standing on their feet again, figuratively speaking, and hopefully finding employment to support themselves and their families.”
Additionally, Henry Olonga, the first black cricketer to play international cricket for Zimbabwe will be the guest of honour at the concert – Henry and his fellow cricketer Andy Flower, became headline news worldwide when they chose to wear black armbands during an international match in mourning for the death of democracy in Zimbabwe. This was considered a treasonable act punishable by death. Henry had to leave his beloved country and is now living in the UK with his Australian wife and two tots. He has reinvented himself very successfully as an after dinner speaker and singer.
This will be really fun concert, so book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets are £15 for adults and £5 for under 16s and are available from Boatique on Hart Street or by calling 01491 578238 or 01491 410840