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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

Choir is within touching distance, yet so far from reach

I don’t quite know how to say how I feel.

That line from Snow Patrol’s song Chasing Cars (this week named as the most played song on UK radio this century) pretty much sums it up for me.

This weekend, in the 10th anniversary year of inChoir, we play two nights at the Hawth in Crawley.  Two big shows with a great set list, a live band and, in all likelihood – and heaven help us – Mark with his ukulele!  Definitely an event not to be missed.

But I will miss it. I will miss applauding from the stalls on Saturday.  I will miss the thrill of being on stage as part of a huge choir on Sunday. I will miss the sheer joy of singing.  All because I won’t even be in the country.  Since January, my work has intruded into my personal time to an unprecedented extent.  The result is that I have been unable to attend any inChoir weekly sessions this year.  

At first, it felt like an inconvenience.  But, gradually, it grew into something much more fundamental: a sense of dislocation, of deprivation.  A profound loss.

I have always loved to sing, but for thirty years (since leaving school choirs and seedy folk clubs behind me) it was limited to the car, the shower and the occasional lullaby.  Plucking up the courage to accompany my wife to inChoir, after spending a year as her groupie, was probably the best and most sensible choice I had made since marrying her.

A door opened out into a garden of delights – familiar yet excitingly new.  The familiar was the discipline and pleasure of choral singing.  The new was the way that inChoir brings one to music; no pre-conditions, no pomposity, and lots of gentle fun.  The exciting part, for me, was the thorough professional approach to learning and performing songs. 

The biggest bonus, however, has been the social side of inChoir.  When work is all-consuming it is difficult to find time or opportunity to make new friends – especially at my age.  In the past few years, I have made many new friends through inChoir.  Friends who, although they share my love of singing, are as diverse and interesting a bunch as one couldhope to meet.

Having previously written three blogs about performances that I found quite emotional, for various reasons, I was asked by Mark, “Why not write your next piece about a typical inChoir weekly session?”  My immediate thought was that a typical session does not have the emotional impetus of a performance at Woodlands Meed school or a performance to help raise money for MNDA in Hove.

But, as the blessed Joni Mitchell put it – you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.  I am sad.  I am bereft. The door to my garden of delights is locked and, right now, I don’t have the key.

Chasing Cars is a song very close to my heart.  It was the very first song I learned and sang with inChoir.  At the end of that first session, the wonderful Bob Hopkins turned round and said to me “You’re not too bad for a newbie.”  I felt like I had just won the lottery.

To all the performers at the Hawth on Saturday and Sunday, I say have a wonderful, wonderful time.  Treasure the opportunity and the moment. My thoughts will be with you.

To all the people in the audience I say thank you.  You, not the choir, bring the performance to life.  Your applause is like an adrenaline boost to everybody on the stage.  Please enjoy the result!

To all of you – I’ll finish with another line from Chasing Cars:

Show me a garden that’s bursting into life!

 

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If you would still like to buy tickets to our concert at The Hawth this weekend, there are a limited number available and can be purchased HERE.