Celebrities come calling for Harborough Singers

From the 2016 concert
From the 2016 concert

Gill Guest continues her look through the archives of the Harborough singers as they mark 40 years of song

David Beavan became conductor in 1985 and immediately resolved to strengthen the choir’s links with its home base, Market Harborough.

The Fawlty Towers cast

The Fawlty Towers cast

One of the first things he did was to instigate the annual Celebration of Christmas concert at St. Dionysus’s Church, in the very heart of the town, to which he also invited a guest celebrity.

The roll call of stars who have visited the town to appear alongside the choir at Christmas now numbers two Dames (Patricia Routledge and Janet Suzman), a handful of CBEs (among them Simon Russell Beale, Nicholas Parsons and Timothy West), two OBEs (Martin Jarvis and Josette Simon), half the staff at Fawlty Towers (Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs), arch-enemies from Dr Who (Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, and Michael Kilgariff, the Cyber Controller) and a TV Vet (Christopher Timothy) to name but a few.

While this blending of professional and amateur talents undoubtedly leads to a quality performance, it can be confusing for the choir.

Arriving late at Margaret Blades’ house one year, where a lavish pre-concert tea was being devoured by ravenous hordes of singers, the choir’s chairman Tim Blades suffered a veritable Fawlty Towers moment when he met Andrew Sachs, the actor who played Basil Fawlty’s hapless waiter, Manuel, carrying cups of tea on a tray from the kitchen!

For some reason, photographs of the choir with the guest ‘celeb’ are incredibly rare.

So if you’ve ever been at the Christmas Concert and have taken a few snaps do write in and let us know! The address is newsdesk@harboroughmail.co.uk