The countdown begins for singers ahead of this year’s long-awaited Choir Camp at Dunfield House in North Herefordshire.
The event, held annually, is organised by conductor Matthew Jones, and sees singers of all abilities come together from far and wide to make music and new friends.
The self-proclaimed ‘Patron Saint of the Tone-deaf’, Jones believes anybody can learn to sing, and has trained complete beginners to play such venues as the Royal Albert Hall and record with the likes of Boy George.
Travelling farthest, from Philadelphia, PA, is special guest Russell Thompkins, Jr. He will front the choir, as have Sheila Ferguson, Kiki Dee and Peter Straker in previous years.
Lead singer emeritus of The Stylistics – the original and only one to have charted – Thompkins’ coy yet cutting falsetto on such transatlantic hits as ‘Can’t Give You Anything (but My Love)’, ‘Funky Weekend’ and ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’ was integral to the records’ iconic sound and contribution to Philly soul. Having provided the soundtrack to many an amorous encounter, the group’s 1971 single ‘Stop, Look, Listen (to Your Heart)’ was covered by Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye and used for the famous ‘granny pants’ scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Russell went solo in 2000 and later formed The New Stylistics. Duly complete with matching suits and slick moves, they ‘took to the float’ before throngs of fans in 2019 at America’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in their hometown of Philadelphia, and recently joined Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson on tour, continuing to delight audiences the world over.
Choir Camp 2022 will take place from 17th to 19th June at the county’s Dunfield House and will feature a gala dinner and songs around the campfire.
The 19th-century mansion stands in some fifteen acres of rolling Welsh Border countryside. Requisitioned during World War II for US forces, Dunfield House was a bolthole for Winston Churchill for high-level meetings and elaborate dinners. Nearby Hergest Ridge inspired Mike Oldfield’s 1974 album of the same name and, according to local folklore, the chilling legend surrounding its Court was drawn upon by Arthur Conan Doyle for his classic ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.
With over 80 singers already signed up, the Camp next month will be its biggest yet. Anybody interested in taking part should call 0121 401 1380 or email email@example.com