HOLY Trinity Church was treated to an exhibition of musical and cultural unity with the visit of a Japanese choir.

Cookham Cantorum Choir and singers from Fonte Choir, Nagareyama, performed resounding renditions of classical European and Japanese compositions at Cookham's summer concert on June 17.

The two choirs joined forces to sing a version of Alleluia, led by Cantorum Choir's principal conductor Sally Stafford.

Then Fonte's Masanobu Karasawa conducted an emotive performance of a classic Japanese song Akatombo.

And fears that words might be lost in translation proved to be unfounded.

Penny Bysshe, a Cantorum alto, said: "It was a wonderful experience - musically and culturally.

"We clicked immediately, from the daytime rehearsal to the evening concert.

"Masanobu conducted Akatombo with real feeling and emotion.

"He pulled out all the rhythms and emphasised the sad aspects of the song.

"It didn't prove too hard for us to sing, as the Japanese words were spelt phonetically.

"To my surprise, European and Japanese tonal aspects were not all that different."

Fonte, from Nagareyama city, near Tokyo, chose to perform in Cookham after Mr Karasawa visited the area in 2005 on a six-month trip to the UK.

He has led Fonte since the group was founded in 1974, and also conducts a number of other choirs in Japan.

After the performance the two choirs exchanged gifts. Cantorum provided each Fonte member with a print of David Colphup's painting of Holy Trinity Church.

Cantorum choristers received origami figures from their Japanese counterparts.