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Well what have Ocho been up to I hear you ask? Basically, we are in the middle of doing the 'hard yards' of learning new material for the Bangor International Choral Competition to be held in Northern Ireland at the end of April. Just so that you don't forget us, we happened upon some 'warm up' singing we did whilst singing in Germany at the end of last year. Its very informal ..... including Hannah deciding she was getting too hot and unzipping her coat during the recording ! lol. Anyway, thats what we are doing .... busy learning lots of new material. of course, we don't have a musical director guiding us so in true Ocho tradition we are developing the songs by concensus .... and boy are we having some interesting and heated discussions! We're hoping the final product will be worth it this space!

What a wonderful weekend Ocho spent in Krefeld! Not only were there two formal shared concerts but lots of 'informal' singing too! A number of months ago we were contacted by

silk-O-phonics, an a cappella jazz choir from Krefeld in Germany to see if we wanted to visit Leicester's 'twin' city and sing two joint concerts in the area. This was a lovely opportunity so after a few months of planning, on 1st December 7 members of Ocho and a few 'groupies' set off for Düsseldorf. Yes, just 7 of Ocho as Meg could not join us because of long standing musical commitments.

The silk-O-phonics made us very welcome and after an introduction to Krefeld Christmas market and a joint practice on the Friday evening, we visited the amazing Abbey at Kloster Kamp and what an amazing space to sing in with an unbelievable acoustic! There was a suggestion that there was an 8 second reverb in the beautiful abbey.

So Ocho sang, silk-O-phonics sang and we had also rehearsed some music which we could sing together ..... a joyous experience with a large audience in such a lovely setting.

Photo by Thomas Essler Photography, Krefeld Photo by Thomas Essler Photography, Krefeld

All of the time, our German hosts were showing us wonderful friendship and hospitality in welcoming us to their area. Something that Ocho will never forget!

After some free time on the Sunday morning, we prepared for our second concert in Krefeld itself .... at Pauluskirche. An even larger audience were present here with over 300 attending to listen to the concert.

The concerts were a mixture of sacred Christmas and modern Christmas songs and I thinks its fair to say that the two vocal groups enjoyed each others music as well as singing together!

From 'Carol of the Bells' and 'O Holy Night', to the wonderful 'Es kommt ein Schiff geladen' and the atmospheric 'Es Ist Ein Rose Entsprungen'

Monday morning brought a trip to Düsseldorf before the return flight home.

Ocho was extremely grateful to our hosts for their warmth and generosity and we were sure that some lifelong friendships were made. A HUGE 'Thank You'

to silk-O-phonics ! Photo by Thomas Essler Photography, Krefeld

So now we move on to our final sing of the year ...

a return to the wonderful church of St Margaret's Crick on Tuesday 12th December (7.30pm). Tickets available online at or can be reserved by messaging Derek on 07769 226650 or take your chance at the door on the night!

An Ocho Update !

Its been a little while since we posted so we have lots to tell you ........

On Firday evening we sang our last 'non-Christmas' concert at St Wilfrid's Church in Barrow on Trent. It was a fab concert and the audience really seemed to enjoy it ... no doubt assisted by the copious amounts of wine on offer! Many have said that we sound much better after a few glasses of wine! Not sure if they mean us or them !!! Anyway, now we are down to the serious business of Christmas. We have our 2 concerts in Düsseldorf area and we are thrilled with our programme and are really looking forward to singing with our new German friends 'Silk-O-Phonics'. They have really gone out of their way to ensure that we have a lovely visit .... its just a shame that our lovely alto Meg can't make the trip. 'Silko's' have arraged for our songs and Christmas readings to be mixed together during the Concert and we are really looking forward to it.

Then we are back to one of our very favourite venues to sing our only full Christmas concert in the UK........ St Margaret's Church, Crick, Northants. We have sung there for a number of years and every time the audience just seems to get bigger and bigger .... and a very appreciative audience too. So that will be fantastic!

Looking forward to 2024 with great excitement. We have decided to enter 2 competitions in the first part of the year, one local and another International Competition. In March we shall be entering Oundle Festival of Music Competition and then in April we are travelling to Bangor in Northern Ireland for an International Choral Competition there. So the first 3 months of next year will be busy with practice, practice, practice !!

Then later in the year, we have the REAL excitement when not just one, but two of our lovely ladies are getting married. Our lovely alto Megan and our Soprano Georgia are both getting married and Ocho are delighted to have been asked to sing at both celebrations ......

So the end of this year and next year look really exciting ....

Thank you to everyone who follows us and give us support and, don't forget, if you think Ocho could add something special to your event or celebration, contact Derek on 07769 226650.

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