Tune up for Swindon Community Choir
As my regular listeners know, the guest blog posts on Born again Swindonian often occur as a result of interactions on social media. This post though is the exception that proves the rule as I met Mandy, it’s author, via Outset Swindon both of us having been through their programme. Me of course for the setting up of my business, AA Editorial Services.
In the course of conversation with Mandy and her husband I discovered their involvement with a community choir and felt it was something that should be shared on here. And I absolutely can’t sing – I only wish I could. My daughter once offered to buy me singing lessons suggesting I look at it as a service to the community. Harrumph!
Anyway, here now is Mandy’s post about the community choir and teaching Swindon, if not the world, to sing:
” ‘I can’t sing’ – the most common reaction received when I suggest singing to people who want fun, more social life and to raise their happiness quotient!
My name’s Mandy. I have always loved singing with other people – I am a willing and enthusiastic enjoyer of the shared results. In an interesting twist of fate, my first awareness that a community choir existed in Swindon occurred in 2002. Lots of wonderful, new things started that year…. At the time, my husband Pete and I were keeping an African Drumming Group ticking along in Wroughton. On the particular week in discussion, I happened to be away.
After the session, Pete (who had always laughed at me because I can hardly hear a song without adding a harmony) said that I would have loved the events of that Wednesday evening. A young Polish man, doing some “WWOOFing” (Working Weekends on Organic Farms) at Lower Shaw Farm, had joined in for the evening, asking at the end of it if the group would like to learn a harmony song. Being the agreeable types, they did exactly that. I was very glad that the following week, Pawol turned up again, drummed a smile onto his face and went on to share a song with us. ‘You like harmony sing?’ he asked. Oh boy, did I. “You know there is a choir at Lower Shaw Farm?” How on earth did I not know that? It’s on my doorstep. I love the farm. Yet, this young man came all the way from Poland to an African drumming group to tell us that a local lady called Linda and her husband, Martin, not finding the desired choir, started one up themselves. Funny how it works, sometimes, isn’t it? The group has grown and grown, moving from place to larger place and branching out to a Tuesday afternoon group at Lower Shaw Farm as well, singing eclectic songs old and new and from the world over.
Well, we are still there with the group – and extending the reach of the joy of A’cappella (voices-only) singing. Linda and Martin have shown us the ropes of leading groups and we love it. Repeatedly, we see people come in, looking for an outlet for their voice – and often wondering if they will be ‘good enough’ (everyone is; this is for fun, fun, fun!) and going away smiling. They are invigorated and usually more energetic than when they arrived. There is a crazy idea around that a ‘singer’ is already publicly renowned or has to be good enough to be so. One idea suitably scuppered, then!
Swindon Community Choir has over forty smiley singers turning up on a term-time Monday night. (www.singtastic.co.uk). We meet at the Central Community hall, in Emlyn Square, in the famous Railway Village. The free car park is very well-used and the art of triple-parking has become the group’s knack! The bus stops just at the corner. We have had singers as young as 9 and well into their 90s. Let’s have some centenarians!
I love meeting people and discovering their loves, their ambitions and drives – and the amazing richness of past experiences. The Monday morning drop-in, facilitated by our Community Engagement Worker, Kati Wood, is a great place to indulge that love. In discussing my own, people asked us about what we do (‘we’ being Pete and I). “Can you run a choir here, for us?” Well, all things are possible if you really want them to be….
Singtastic on YouTube: https://youtu.be/sDqATbWnxl4
Kati stepped in quickly and told us about the ‘New Shoots” grant that’s available for local group activities. Our local Swindon Councillors waved the magic wand. Today, I am glad to announce that in April, on Thursdays 23rd and 30th, there are opportunities to experience this for oneself, free of charge, between 10am and 12pm.
As we are holding this in the Haydon Wick Parish Council offices, adjacent to the Haydon Centre, there will also be disabled facilities and outside, free parking. (Just in case you might consider that I meant inside…) If a song stirs you to join in at times, why not come along and experience the fun of group singing, too? If you need more information about it, you can contact me on 07736 314912 or by email; firstname.lastname@example.org.”