History of Kentwood through the decades

1st Decade 1964 to 1974

The story starts in 1964 when Sheila gathered 6 of her students together in her parent’s front room and formed the Kentwood Choir. During those first ten years there were a few notable events; the choir won a class in the Swindon Music Festival and then Sheila Snook won the heart of Christopher Harrod. It was obviously a decade of firsts, the first Annual Show was performed in the Playhouse Theatre (part of the Mechanics Institute), the first Long Playing Disc was recorded and Kentwood went to the famous Llangollen Eisteddfod. When the Wyvern Theatre opened, Kentwood was on stage at the inaugural concert. At this time it was a young ladies choir and so they were able to make their first TV appearance on HTV’s ‘Women Only’.

The songs that we are singing tonight from this decade are: Chapel In The Moonlight, Hallelujah To The Lamb and My Way

2nd Decade 1975 to 1984

The second decade also saw some excursions to Lincoln, Teeside and Greenwich, being just a few. It also saw a foreign trip to Swindon’s twin town Salzgitter in Germany. Kentwood had made its first foray onto foreign soil. With the success of that trip, others quickly followed with two trips to California in the USA, then to Norway and Romania. Time was also found to rehearse and record two more albums.

This was the decade when Top Of The World, Climb Every Mountain and Bridge Over Troubled Water joined the repertoire.

3rd Decade 1985 to 1994

Kentwood’s Roaring Twenties certainly went into overdrive with performances at London’s famous Royal Festival Hall, trips to Poland, Spain and Austria and another major TV appearance on ‘Bob Says Opportunity Knocks’. More recordings were made but 12 inch vinyl was dying and these were cassette and CD. Not to be left out, the Junior Choir secured a run at the London Palladium, performing with Philip Schofield in ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat’ and were then selected to appear in that year’s Royal Variety Performance in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Beautiful Girls, St Louis Blues, American Trilogy, Joseph Megamix, Even Now, One Voice, Rhythm Of Life, One Day More and John Miles Music joined the repertoire in this decade.

4th Decade 1995 to 2004

Always keen to accept exciting challenges, this more mature decade saw a full theatrical production of ‘The Sound Of Music’ at the Wyvern Theatre; a guest appearance at a star studded concert in Windsor for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th birthday organised by The Loyal Order of Water Rats. The Water Rats were not the only stars who had noticed Kentwood. After being invited to join us at the Wyvern Theatre, Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine returned the honour and Kentwood performed with them in the Christmas Shows in Wavendon and their 50th Anniversary Gala in the Royal Albert Hall. With so much else going on it was not surprising that only one CD was recorded and only one excursion to foreign climes, Ireland.

The Processional Hymn, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, It Don’t Mean A Thing, Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit, Morte Christe Hymn, Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves and Just Arrived all first appeared with Kentwood during this decade.

5th Decade 2005 to 2014

This most recent period of Kentwood featured an appearance on Songs of Praise where Kentwood was seen in the beautiful Malmesbury Abbey. A visit to a choral conference at Guildford Cathedral provided a lasting memory for the choir in that it included singing ‘The Armed Man’ under the baton of the composer Karl Jenkins! Other trips included opening the ‘Garden Season’ in Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth’s garden and another trip to Ireland. Three CDs were recorded.

New music is constantly joining the list of Kentwood’s repertoire and It Is Well With My Soul, Somebody To Love, Dream A Little Dream, O Fortuna and This is The Moment all come from this most recent decade.
Kentwood Annual Shows

1968 Showtime (Playhouse)
1969 Kentwood Kapers (Playhouse)
1970 Showtime Cavalcade (Ferndale)
1971 Sing A Rainbow (Ferndale)
1972 Kentwood Carousel (Ferndale)
1973 Beatles, Bach & Bacharach (Ferndale)
1974 Kentwood In Concert (Wyvern)
1975 Rhythm Of Life (Wyvern)
1976 Everything’s Coming Up Roses (Wyvern)
1977 Music Is My First Love (Wyvern)
1978 Winter Wonderland (Wyvern)
1979 Sing Noel (Wyvern)
1980 That’s Entertainment (Wyvern)
1981 Festive Serenade (Wyvern)
1982 Kentwood Startime (Wyvern)
1983 One Voice (Wyvern)
1984 Music In The Air (Wyvern)
1985 Nothing Can Stop Me Now (Wyvern)
1986 Showstopper (Wyvern)
1987 Starburst (Wyvern)
1988 Curtain Up (Wyvern)
1989 Fascinatin’ Rhythm (Wyvern)
1990 It’s A Grand Night For Singing (Wyvern)
1991 Kentwood Night Out (Wyvern)
1992 Music! Music! Music! (Wyvern)
1993 Flying High (Wyvern)
1994 Hooked On Kentwood (Wyvern)
1995 Crazy For Kentwood (Wyvern)
1996 Out Of This World (Wyvern)
1997 Kentwood By Name (Wyvern)
1998 Crazy For Musicals (Wyvern)
1999 Be Our Guest (Wyvern)
2000 The Sound Of Music (full production) (Wyvern)
2001 Hey! Mrs Producer (Wyvern)
2002 Kentwood Centre Stage (Wyvern)
2003 Kentwood – The Show (Wyvern)
2004 On With The Show (Wyvern)
2005 Putting On The Style (Wyvern)
2006 I Did It My Way (Wyvern)
2007 Kentwood Show Case
2008 Kentwood Show Case
2009 Kentwood Show Case
2010 Kentwood Show Case
2011 Kentwood Show Case
2012 Kentwood Show Case
2013 Kentwood Show Case
2014 Kentwood Celebrating 50 Glorious Years
2015 Kentwood Show Case
2016 Kentwood Show Case
2017 Kentwood Show Case

The Kentwood Show Choir – once seen, never forgotten
“The Kentwood Show Choir and Sheila Harrod breathe life and energy into all that they do. They sing from the heart and communicate joy”

Bob Chilcott, Composer