Choir Party & Awards Ceremony – Sunday 29th July 2012

Posted on July 29, 2012


The ginger beer was a big success at the end of term party

We were delighted to host the annual Choir Party and Awards Ceremony on Sunday 29th July, just before our trip to York Minster. With an eye on the forecast, we spent most of Saturday putting up a big gazebo which we decorated with bunting, balloons and (slightly doctored) portraits of some of our favourite choral composers. Thankfully the festive tent turned out to be large enough to accommodate our forty guests! Kat Gourd and her Events team had prepared a ‘Guess the Baby’ competition featuring choir members as well as choir Mums and Dads, which kept everyone puzzled between the showers – a photograph of a youthful Adrian Butterfield stumped everyone except Tracy and Katie Allen and Harvey Brink who were announced as joint winners! Luckily the weather was kinder than the dreary BBC forecast. Henry ran the BBQ which was complemented by a bountiful bring and share table including a delicious Texan Corn Bread and Cous Cous made by Rose Hagon-Torkington and wonderful Chocolate Brownies made by Laura Sutherland, washed down with lashings of special end of term Ginger Beer (recipe below)!

We said goodbye to our Choral Scholars – Rianna Walcott, Danielle McLennaghan and thank you to Josie Wastell, who we hope will be coming back for another year!

As ever the annual awards ceremony gave us the chance to look back over the past academic year and say thank you to everyone who has been such an important part of the choir – and what a year! We have enjoyed our trips to St Albans Abbey, Newcastle Cathedral, Rochester Cathedral and the summer tour to York Minster, the brilliant Mothering Sunday Jazz Mass (which brought a drum kit and bass guitar into church!), the Flower Festival Concert and Summer Concert in July as well as all the regular choral services, including the important Easter and Christmas services and our special Sesquicentenary Eucharist.  The party also provided the opportunity for Harvey to say thank you and goodbye to our choral scholars who were presented with a special audio-visual compilation of their year prepared by Kat Gourd and Dave Hinitt (note to self – it’s amazing what the church video camera can pick up!). We managed to make our way back up Waterfall Road in time to sing our final Evensong of the Year – Stanford’s lung-stretching Evening Canticles in A and Bairstow’s Blessed City, heavenly Salem.


A firm favourite of the choir party, Henry reveals his secrets;

For the ginger beer;
1 gallon of water
3oz root ginger, crushed
1lb sugar

For the active ingredient;
1/2oz dry active yeast
1 dessert spoon of sugar
1 cup of luke warm water

Crushing the root ginger!


1. Crush the root ginger in a saucepan. Use lots of force! More crushing means more flavor! You could add some ground ginger I guess but fresh root ginger is better.2. Add the water and sugar to the saucepan and boil. Leave to cool until luke warm.3. Pour into a bucket or tank to ferment. Some people add lemon juice to add a sharper taste. We like it sweet.

4. Mix the yeast with a cup of luke warm water and a dessert spoon of sugar. Let the mix rest for ten minutes. Stir into the ginger mixture. We add in a handful of raisins at this stage. Once all the raisins are floating the mixture is ready to be filtered and bottled.

We played Stanford’s Irish Folk Tunes to the fermenting mixture!

5. Leave for no more than 48 hours to ferment at room temperature. Leaving it any longer could result in an explosion! We bought one of those fermenting bucket things from Wilkinsons in Wood Green. Some people use plastic bottles. Don’t use glass – this can explode! We played the mixture a selection of music including Stanford’s setting of Irish Folk Tunes, including “Trottin’ To The Fair”, to help it ferment but we can’t vouch for it’s effectiveness.

Drink it up fast before it turns into a spirit!

6. Pour the mixture through a funnel lined with a narrow weave cloth to extract the crushed ginger.

7. Bottle it, adding two raisins to each bottle to keep the fermentation going and chill. The ginger beer will be cloudy with a gingery coloured tinge!

8. Consume fast before it turns into a spirit!