The concept of a Safari grew out of a wish from Caroline Carless to try out different acoustics very informally. Also to experiment with different line ups: conventional SATB , SSAATTBB and SATB/SATB choir positions or everyone mixed up and not standing next to someone singing the same part. It was decided that four of the Beaminster Team churches would be approached to host us and we would perform a short recital at each. Mike and Sheila Furse grasped the nettle; the churchwardens were asked for permission to use Mapperton, Melplash, Seaborough and Burstock; a Route Card was produced; choir members decided what would be sung for each short recital and also decided that we would make a collection for a local charity, the children’s hospice Julia’s House and publicity courtesy of Mandy Alford, was distributed and displayed, although we were quite happy to sing in an empty church. This actually very nearly happened at Burstock where the churchwarden was the sole member of the audience. At Mapperton the Earl of Sandwich joined in with us as did the churchwarden, James Best, at Melplash. A convivial lunch was taken at The Half Moon in Melplash and a DIY tea was hosted in Stoke Abbott by Caroline Carless and Colin Burnett.
This format has been followed for all the other Safaris, the ethos changing somewhat over the years to become more of an advert for Parnham Voices and indeed some of the churches we have visited have invited us back to give a full length concert. The enjoyment of these special days hasn’t changed however and for a lot of singers the Safari is the highlight of their year.
2 MDs and 1 Guest Conductor
83 Songs in the Safari repertoire
263 Performances of the above
40 Venues:- 39 Churches and 1 National Trust property
4 Main organisers
9 Tea hosts
9 Pub lunches
Somewhere in the region of £1615-59 has been raised for Julia’s House, click here to read how this money is spent helping young people.