Sample German culture without getting on a plane

Oktoberfest organiser Uli Grego and church organist Jon Lee at last years event
Oktoberfest organiser Uli Grego and church organist Jon Lee at last years event

St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted, will be celebrating Germanic culture this month, with its annual Oktoberfest.

And this year it is celebrating the town’s heritage with a free performance of Handel’s Foundling Anthem.

Oktoberfest, which takes place over the weekend of September 23 and 24, will see Handel’s dramatic choral being performed in the Ashlyns School chapel at 4.30pm on the Saturday, accompanied by a festival chorus that’s open to anyone who can read music.

Handel wrote the Foundling Anthem in 1749 to help raise money Thomas Coram’s London Foundling Hospital, later rebuilt in Berkhamsted and eventually becoming Ashlyns School. The piece culminates in the ever-popular Hallelujah chorus.

St Peter’s will also be celebrating German food and wine. There will be a wine tasting of selected German wines led by wine expert Mike Eggleton at the Court House at 7.30pm on the Saturday, followed on the Sunday by a traditional Bavarian breakfast at 11am, after a performance of a Buxtehude Cantata during St Peter’s 9.30am church service.

Church organist Jon Lee, said: “Oktoberfest presents the perfect way to sample German culture without getting on a plane.

“This year the highlight is definitely going to be Handel’s Foundling Anthem, a magnificent choral work which will raise the roof of Ashlyns School chapel.”

For more information and event tickets, see www.stpetersberkhamsted.org.uk/events/oktoberfest

To join the Oktoberfest Chorus, singers must be free to attend at least one of the following two-hour rehearsals: 8pm on September 11, 1.30pm on Sunday September 17, 8pm on Monday September 18.

For those who just want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, there will be a short rehearsal at 3.30pm on September 23.