Folk Forays in Cheltenham

Magenta at CheltenhamMagenta’s foray into the world of folk came to fruition this weekend with an exciting performance in the Folk Class at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts.

In a departure from our usual repertoire, two traditional but contrasting folk songs were arranged by director Liz Garnett. The hauntingly beautiful ‘She Moved Through the Fair ‘ told the sad story of a lost love and was described by the adjudicator as an “atmospheric performance”.

The mischievous Irish skipping song ‘I’ll tell me Ma when I get home’ was in complete contrast. Punctuated by sequences of joyfully rhythmic stamps and claps, we hoped that the latter would be as fun to watch as it is to perform. The smiles from the audience confirmed this as did the adjudicator’s comments of “engaging and enjoyable”.

Cheltenham Town Hall provided a beautiful back drop for the class in which the very worthy 100 strong Cor Y Gleision (http://cardiffblueschoir from Wales were eventual winners.

All in all, a rewarding and uplifting experience.

Sam Wishart



Singing for Moseley Folk

Magenta at Friday FolkMagenta are always keen to sing to delight local audiences.  We are based in Moseley, and enjoy the chance to join venues in the village. Last Friday, we were invited to perform for a happy band of folk dancers who regularly attend ‘Friday Folk’ meetings at St Anne’s Church Hall.

We were delighted to be asked, as we have recently taken on a new project to learn new arrangements of popular folk songs: ‘I Tell Me Ma’ and ‘She Moved Through The Fair’.  This kind invitation gave us the chance to premier one of our new arrangements to a friendly and encouraging audience before we face a panel of judges at Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts next weekend.

We sang our two new folk songs, along with two well-loved pieces from our original repertoire (‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Price Tag’).  It was great fun, and seemed to please our audience during a well-earned break from their dancing.  Afterwards, we joined them for a cuppa and a biscuit, and some of us stayed to have a go at some traditional folk moves until late in the evening.‎

Thank you to the lovely dancers at St Anne’s Friday Folk, especially Paul, Howard and Diana for their warm welcome.”

Jo Hickman

Magenta is 10!

10thbirthdayMyra Connell writes:

Yes, it’s true: it will be ten years in September since Liz put out fliers (I picked mine up at the Moseley Exchange while waiting for another group to start) asking for people to join a female close-harmony choir.   She was going to call it Magenta because it’s a colour that mixes two others – blue and red – and in the same way her vision for the choir was that it would mix all sorts of people. They didn’t need to be singers already, they didn’t need to be able to read music yet: all they needed (in one of Liz’s unique but now-familiar turns of phrase) was ‘up-for-it-ness’.

And now here we are, ten years later, having gone from strength to strength. We are known locally for our Christmas sets at the Mac craft fair, the Co-op, and other venues. We have won prizes at festivals, we have topped the bill at the Parkinsons UK concerts for the past several years, and most importantly perhaps, we have improved our musicianship, had a lot of fun, and made lasting friendships.

No doubt there will be more celebrations as the year goes on, but the party starts at the Moseley Festival, when on Sunday 3 July we will be hosting one of our famous workshops in which we all learn from scratch a song arranged specially in four parts by Liz, and then perform it to our friends and relations. There will also be a chance to hear some of the songs from our current repertoire, and (we are very excited about this) we are hoping that some former members will join us to sing one of the pieces that has been in our repertoire all along.   And then we will have tea and cakes!

We would love you to join us.

The venue is the Birmingham Buddhist Centre on Park Road in Moseley, and the workshop starts at 2 pm. Come to that, or just come at 4 o’clock for the concert and cakes.

Workshop £5 (women only for voice reasons, under-sixteens welcome when accompanied by a participating adult). Concert and cakes free and open to all. More information and booking: (workshop null@null www NULL.magentacloseharmony

Magenta comes to the Bullring – and supports mothers worldwide

12823349_10153347149847231_6544366085405254841_oMyra Connell writes:

Ammalife is a charity which works to support mothers all over the world, to help make childbirth safer. Tuesday 8th March is International Women’s Day, 6th March is Mothering Sunday, and on Saturday 5th, Ammalife were collecting in town. What better time for Magenta to come to Birmingham city centre to help raise funds?

So… if you had passed the Bull at 2pm, you would have heard amidst the usual Bullring bustle and noise the lone voice of Vicki above the hubbub: ‘Anybody / find me / somebody to love’. Then three more voices emerged to join her, and a few seconds later others could be heard, seemingly from amongst the shoppers… Magenta were singing Queen as a flash-mob!

Soon the choir formed. An Ammalife collecting bucket was placed in front of us, and then we were into another five numbers, ranging from smoochy ‘God only knows’ to jolly ‘Bear Necessities’ and carefree ‘Upside Down’.

We like to think that we drew people into our world: there were happy smiles, and the sun came round the corner of the roof onto our faces. It was a pleasure to support such a good cause, and we wish Ammalife well with their invaluable work.

Our next stop will be New Street Station, where we will showcase our two newest songs before performing them at the Cheltenham Festival in May.

Watch this space for details of date and time!

Valentines at the MAC

macChristine Mandelberg writes:

Imagine our surprise just before last Christmas when we were invited to perform the whole song repertoire from the film Dirty Dancing as part of the MAC (https://macbirmingham Valentine’s Event (https://macbirmingham on Saturday 13th February.  A tall order for any choir!  As performing at MAC is a firm favourite with Magenta singers we were determined to find a solution to the challenge.

The usual MAC hustle and bustle had been replaced by a quiet and romantic atmosphere for the occasion so our objective was enhance rather than disturb the ambience whilst guests dined in the Bridges Café.  In complete contrast to our concert at St Mary’s Church in Moseley last month where we performed to a large audience, we chose an unobtrusive position where we could be heard rather than seen and where guests would be aware of something rather pleasant taking place, rather than being distracted from food and conversation by having a performance too “up close and personal”.  It felt appropriate not to make the usual introduction and announcements between songs and these short, silent pauses further added to the whole atmosphere.

To set the scene for the showing of the film we incorporated a newly commissioned version of ‘Kellerman’s Anthem’ (specially arranged by Liz Garnett for the occasion) with love songs from our repertoire such as ‘If You’re Not the One’, ‘Let There be Love’, ‘God Only Knows’ and our quartet also performed the haunting and dreamy ‘Feelin Good’.

We hope we were able to contribute to the success of the evening.  Thanks to staff at MAC for providing their hospitality and comfort for our warm-up.  We look forward to next time, whether it be the Christmas Craft Market or another Valentine’s Event!

Music at St Mary’s

stmarysjan2016Lara Bailey writes:

We were delighted to sing at the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Moseley as part of the ‘Music at St Mary’s’ (https://www NULL.facebook coffee morning concert series. It was a real treat for us to sing in a local venue, and we loved sharing our warm joyful sound on a chilly January morning. Our audience enjoyed hearing some Magenta favourites including ‘Let The River Run’ and ‘If You’re Not The One’. We were especially glad to perform some new pieces that we have been working on, including the haunting ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ and ‘Kellerman’s Anthem’, the latter of which we’re rehearsing for our next performance at the MAC (https://macbirmingham on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Performing in this generous space to such a wonderful turn-out allowed us to indulge in a varied programme, and gave us time to include our audience in giving a little history about our choir and our music, including our versions of ‘God Only Knows’ and ‘Let There Be Love’. We even had the whole church as our fabulous backing singers for ‘Nine To Five’ which left us feeling highly privileged!

Thank you to Mick Perrier the musical director at St Mary’s for giving us such a hearty welcome, and to all of the church volunteers who have been giving their time to organise this concert series. We’re hoping for a return invite…


Glenys Hennesey writes:
Happy New Year and welcome to another action packed year for Magenta. This is a special year for us as we celebrate 10 YEARS of singing together! We have had an amazing time along the way, meeting new people, performing in a variety of spaces and of course, singing great songs arranged by our Liz. We hope that 2016 will be our best year yet!

We are off to a great start this year when we sing at St Mary’s Church coffee morning concert in Moseley on Saturday 30th January 2016. So, if you are tired of the January weather, come along at 11 am and be cheered up by our heart-warming singing.

Our next event sees Magenta celebrating Valentines Day at the MAC (http://macbirmingham on Saturday 13th February where we will be singing a selection of our most romantic songs to get your hearts fluttering!

We hope you enjoy these events and the many more Magenta appearances we have planned for 2016.

Warming hearts at the Old Print Works

Photo credit: Owen de Visser

Photo credit: Owen de Visser (https://www NULL.facebook

;Jo Hickman writes:
When Magenta were offered the opportunity to join in the first ever Old Print Works (http://www NULL.oldprintworks Christmas craft fair, we jumped at the chance. A place with such an interesting history and fabulous good vibes is right up our street!
As an audience gathered in anticipation in the upstairs gallery, Magenta began to buzz with our signature ambition to delight our audience and warm their hearts with our harmonies.
We wove Christmas classics such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with some of our year-round favourites like Bear Necessities and Let the River Run‎ to pull off two sets which put everyone listening firmly in to a fuzzy Winter Holiday mood.
Thank you to the lovely Jenna at Ort Café for organising our slot and hosting us. We hope to be back…