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The Cottesmore Military Wives Choir pictured in action during the concert in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray. Pictures by Stuart Adlington.

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Above and below: Clarinettist Sara Gibson pictured performing during the concert.

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St Mary's Church proved the perfect setting for the concert.

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Above and below: Maggie Saunders received flowers at the end of the concert.

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The perfect setting for a special night

A Spring Serenade – 10th March, 2018


The Cottesmore Military Wives Choir in concert with Sara Gibson – clarinet

 What an excellent concert we had on Saturday night, writes Stuart Adlington. St Mary’s Church in Melton Mowbray, with its underfloor heating and new, brighter lights, was filled with enthusiastic concert-goers. St Mary’s newly-refurbished church was a perfect setting for such a concert.

The concert was in aid of St James’ Church, Burton Lazars, and in memory of Dr ‘Sandy’ Saunders. Sandy was an active member of the church throughout his time in Burton Lazars. As a member of the Guinea Pig Club, he was inspirational in arranging for a memorial to the airmen who were badly burned as fighter pilots in World War Two and who were helped to recover by a pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe. Sandy and his colleagues were McIndoe’s ‘Guinea Pigs’.

The Military Wives Choir was formed about four years ago and is one of some seventy such choirs in all parts of the world – from Europe to Canada, Australia and Belize. Membership of these choirs depends on one having a connection to the Military Forces in some way.

Military wives can be left without their husbands or partners for months at a time and during that time they have to look after themselves and the family – even to moving house from one country to another when necessary. They have to be strong and supportive of each other to keep the family together at times. To reflect this, the last song they sang was “Stronger Together”, written for them by Gareth Malone.
Other songs included ‘Angels’ a beautiful duet sung by two of the choir; ‘Bring Him Home’; Amazing Grace’; a medley of songs from the 40s and the choir’s favourite -  ‘Rhythm of Life’.

Sara Gibson is a professional clarinettist who grew up and was educated in Melton Mowbray and learned the clarinet with the help of Jill Wallis. Her beautiful playing was a joy to listen to, especially in the setting of St Mary’s Church. She played with great energy and clarity such pieces as  ‘Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite’ by Paul Reade; ‘Solo de Concours’ by Andre Messager and a ‘Romanza’ for clarinet and piano by Francis Poulenc.

With about 400 people to cater for at the interval, St Mary’s new servery and its helpers had to work hard to provide light refreshments – and they did a magnificent job!

This was a wonderful evening and thanks must go to Maggie Saunders and all the people who helped to make this such a memorable evening. St James’ Church is the better for it, and I am sure that Sandy took pleasure in it as well.


*Maggie Saunders would like to thank everyone who helped to make the concert such a success. It was wonderful to see the church so full and it made a beautiful setting for the event. The concert made £4,159.73 for the St James’ Development Fund.

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Above and below: Enjoying the refreshments during the interval.

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