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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

The greatest show (and audience!)

Balcombe Fête, Saturday 14 July was close to being the perfect gig.  Beautiful weather.  Shiny happy people enjoying themselves.  A lovely acapella warm-up.  A photo-op with ponies.    A good sized choir of strong singers.  A canopy for shade and for hearing ourselves sing.  A great sound system masterminded by the brilliant Dan.  And, after our set, being stopped by a lady who said, “That was wonderful!  You’re the best choir I’ve heard for years.”

Wow!  Top that!

Well, five days later I think we just did.

Woodlands Meed School in Burgess Hill (where BH inChoir meets every Wednesday evening in term-time) held their “Creative Arts Week” this week.  The pupils and the staff gathered in the hall each afternoon to be entertained by live performers.  A couple of dance troupes, a steel band, a folk band.  And inChoir.

Hot.  Very hot.  A very short warm-up in the staff room.  No ponies – just some stuffed guinea pigs in a nature display.  A good sized choir of strong singers. A hall full of children and teachers.  No sound system (just Mark’s wheelie amp.).  Just six songs to sing then we’re out of here . . .

But something happened.  

Something happened during our opening number of “Mr Blue Sky” that felt like a live current passing through us all.  The children were clapping and singing along.  Pupils and staff were moving to the music.  The energy in the room was amazing.

And it didn’t fade.  “Stitches” was a huge hit with the kids – some of whom I had seen practising dance steps to it earlier as I rushed to our warm-up.  When did we last have an audience that was word-perfect with our repertoire?

But it was our finale that brought the house down.  Mark asked, “Has anybody here seen The Greatest Showman?”  Wild cheers from everybody.  “Do you know any songs from the movie?”  The whole room introduced our next song.

The energy that we put into singing “This is Me” was incredible.  The response from the audience would have delighted a headliner on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.  Then, of course, the penny dropped.  Woodland Meeds is a school for children with a wide range of special needs.   We – and they – were singing their anthem!

The headteacher, clearly delighted with our set, asked us to sing “This is Me” again while the children were leaving after our performance.  “You’re booked for next year!” she said.  

Another gig with our best ever audience?  Shall we...?