Back in the 1980’s Margaret Hale-Owens sang as a guest soloist at weddings and with orchestras and choirs, to raise funds for the Luton and South Beds Hospice. Following the loss of a good friend and benefactor of the hospice, Marjorie Steel, Margaret instigated a Millennium Memorial Project, in memory of both Marjorie and Arthur Davies MBE, founder and musical Director of The Luton Girls’ Choir, of which Margaret had been a part during her youth. The project involved creating an 18 track album entitled ‘Music in my Heart’ which raised a magnificent £21,000 for what was by then The Pasque Charity.
The creation of Pasque Harmony, to support the work of The Pasque Hospice, came in 2003 when Margaret Hale-Owens and choristers Wendy Beck, Lynda Davies, Alison Nicol and Wendy Welburn approached the Chairman of the Pasque Charity and on referral to the trustees it was agreed they would form the choir. At the time, this was the first choir in the country to be affiliated to a hospice.
Pasque Harmony (now known as Caritas Harmony) performed their first concert on 23 November 2003 entitled ‘A Little Night Music’ at St Augustine’s Church in Luton. Since then the choir has gone from strength to strength, consistently raising its standard of performance at concerts and weddings. The choir has recorded three CDs, including one Christmas CD. The choir has increased in size and now has more than 50 members. ‘Caritas’ is a Latin word that means charity and with the friendship and compassion that are the very core values of the choir the name so very clearly reflects the ethos of the choir.
After a very successful 10 years of raising funds in excess of £130,000 for Keech Hospice Care, Caritas Harmony has moved in a different direction from 1 January 2014. From that date the choir will raise funds for a different charity each year.
The first charity to benefit from their fundraising was Macmillan Cancer Support and since 2017 the choir has raised funds for many charities, both Nationwide and local.
Most importantly, friendship and love of singing remains at the heart of the choir’s desire to raise funds for charity. The choir’s original repertoire of songs will remain but they will be working hard to build on this further to bring fresh new performances throughout Luton and the surrounding areas.