Henley makes sweet music with twin town

The Henley Choral society enjoyed a wonderful reception when they performed a May day concert in Falaise, Henley’s French twin town, last weekend.

Sixty members of the choir, led by Musical director, Peter Asprey travelled to Normandy to perform with local Falaise choir, L’Interlude, led by Musical director, Nathalie Royer.

There was a packed audience in the magnificent Eglise de la Trinité where the concert took place on Saturday evening.  The programme was designed to have a balance of pieces from France and England with the English choir performing works by Franck and Fauré while the French choir’s  repertoire included As Torrents in Summer by Elgar. The two choirs came together to sing Franck’s Dextera Domini.

A special moment was the performance of the Pie Jesu of the Faure Requiem by Valentine Ford.  Valentine epitomises the twinning friendship concept as she was born in Caen, near Falaise, but has been living in Henley and singing with Henley Choral Society for the last two years.   Later, Maurice Ruau, Falaise Deputy Mayor commented: ‘Thank you all for a truly wonderful concert. I think everyone in the audience had tears in our eyes after the performance of the Pie Jesu – it was so beautiful.’

Members of the Henley Falaise Twinning Association also travelled to France for the weekend.  Joint  activities included a walking tour of historic Falaise, a reception and exchange of gifts with speeches in French by Denis McCoy, Chair of the Henley Falaise Twinning Association and in English by Serge Loock, Chair of the Falaise Henley Twinning Association. The festivities concluded on Sunday with a buffet where delicious cider made by a member of the Falaise choir was served and the Henley Choral Society sang a madrigal in English and French.

Chair of Henley Choral Society Susan Edwards explained:   ‘This is a marvellous example of how music can help foster relationships between Henley and our twin town Falaise. Plans are already being made for the Falaise choir to come here; we can’t wait to welcome our new friends to Henley and to sing with them again.’

In the photo:

Maurice Ruau   – Falaise Deputy Mayor

Serge Loock  – Chair of the Falaise Henley Twinning Association (Association de Jumelage Falaise – Henley)

Denis McCoy  – Chair of the Henley Falaise Twinning Association

Annie Mortagne  – Chair of the Interlude choir

Nathalie Royer  – Musical Director of the Interlude Choir