1. Let’s Get Musical
Who needs to join a gym in January when you can join a choir instead? Singing is bang on trend and provides a huge boost to your physical and mental health, without the lycra or unsightly sweating.
Wimbledon Choral Society, one of London’s top amateur choirs, has just begun rehearsals for its next concert and is welcoming new members.
In music director Neil Ferris’s amiable and energetic hands, all 160 choir members have a good laugh at Monday night rehearsals. “Imagine those vain Italian tenors singing ‘Me me me me me!’,” he cries, throwing his arms wide, as the choir gets stuck into Monteverdi’s Vespers.
You’re in excellent hands, as Ferris is also chorus director at the Royal College of Music, and accompanist Mike Higgins’s musical credits include playing for Gareth Malone’s Military Wives Choir at Buckingham Palace.
Singing could even take you abroad – the choir is touring to Estonia in May.
Does your child have the voice of an angel? Get a free musical education for your son or daughter by entering them for a place as a chorister at the historic church of St Mary’s Merton. No previous music training required, just a passion for singing. Choristers even get paid pocket money for performing. They’re currently looking for boys in year 3 and above, and girls in years 5-8. Warning: you’ll need to get up on Sunday mornings for services.
2. Film of the Week: Rogue One [alert – mild spoiler]
If you’re going to see the Star Wars spin off Rogue One – and if you haven’t gone already, you should – take a box of tissues. The ending is a bit of a weepie, particularly for those of us who grew up with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the original trilogy. First time a CGI has made me sniffle.
Showing at Odeon cinemas, HMV Curzon, Empire Sutton, Vue Cinemas – Croydon Purley Way, Cineworld London – Wandsworth, Clapham Picturehouse. See websites for show times.
3. Art: Famous Belgians
Yes, Hercule Poirot. And to that we should now add artist James Ensor, whose unsettling paintings – celebrated at home, virtually unknown in the UK until now – are on show at the Royal Academy. For an intriguing, beautiful and menacing show, I’d politely suggest you’re better off spending £10 on Ensor than £14 on Beyond Caravaggio which closes at the National Gallery this Sunday, 15 January.
4. Stage: Last Chance to Catch the Panto
Panto season finally ends on Sunday when Dick Whittington closes at the New Wimbledon Theatre. Once the ginger wigs are back in their boxes and the size 12 stilettos have been stored away, watch out for the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie starring Strictly Come Dancing’s conquering Joanne Clifton as Millie, which runs from Tuesday to Saturday before heading off on a six month, UK-wide tour.
Check out our Pick of the Pantos blog here.
5. Safety Announcement
If you’re going out to a gig or a show on a date, and you start to feel uncomfortable about your safety, you can go up to the bar and ask for Angela. We should be proud that pubs in Wimbledon and Merton were among the first in the country to sign up for it.
Find out more here.