In 2019 Bridgwater twinned with the town of Camacha on the Portuguese island of Madeira. As part of that visit the Mayor, Tony Heywood, was accompanied by the 40 strong Voice of the People Community Choir who took part in the Funchal international choirs festival. Now the Madeiran host choir is paying us a return visit! The Coro De Camara Da Madeira will be staying in Bridgwater and travelling to venues around the county launching their tour with a concert at the Bridgwater Arts Centre on Saturday 7th March performing alongside Voice of the People. Tickets are now on sale for £7.50 and available from the Art Centre. The show starts at 8pm and will include footage from the Madeiran tour last October.
Founded in 1971 by students from the old Academy of Music in Madeira, the Chamber Choir had as their first Artistic Director the renowned Professor Renate von Schenkendorff . Subsequent art directors included Dr. Rufino da Silva, the Mexican tenor Amador Cortez and Madeira tenors Pereira Júnior, Victor Costa and Augustine Bettencourt. Today the artistic director is Professor Dr. Zélia Ferreira Gomes.
For the origins of the Bridgwater-Madeira link click here.
Chamber Choir of Madeira
The choir plays regularly in Funchal performing choral and instrumental recitals open to the public as well as resident visitors, and collaborates with the Chamber Orchestra of the students Academy. In 1984, in recognition of its continual cultural activity, was awarded the status of an Institution of Public Utility becoming a Cultural Association 2 years later
Since then the Choir organisers have pioneered artistic exchanges between guests from different regions of Portugal and foreign choirs and regularly participate in choral festivals within and outside the country,being highly regarded as cultural ambassadors for the region, promoting Madeiran culture world wide
Originally the choir performed classical musical works of a European baroque style but subsequently started to include traditional Madeiran music alongside operetta and musical theatre, from “My Fair Lady” to “Fiddler on the Roof“.
Voice of the People
Voice of the People are a natural voice choir, founded at the Bridgwater Arts Centre, but now with branches all over the county.
Each year they travel to a different country to link up with local choirs always extending the hand of international friendship for a return visit.
Their journeys have taken them to Poland, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Portugal and Cornwall.