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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

Time to say goodbye...

This is slightly late, I had intended to post this last Thursday after the wonderful end of term concert, featuring the Crawley and Redhill choirs. I've been mulling over an introduction for Alys' goodbye message but she's really said it all for me! So, time to hand over to the lovely lady herself...

"Hi everyone,

A lot of you won’t have a clue who I am but thank you for taking the time to read this!

So, for those of you who don’t know who I am, I’m Alys, I'm 19 and do ‘computer stuff’ for the fabulous Redhill choir. When I was 17 and finishing my AS Levels, I was offered the chance to get some experience with a new choir, and for once I took the plunge and said yes, and I’m so happy I did!

inChoir has turned my life around; Redhill choir turned my little frown upside down and have continued to do so for the last two years. Every week for the last two years I have looked forward to my Tuesday nights where I’ve cried with laughter, sung and listened to this new bunch of people grow into a beautiful sounding choir!

To give you an idea of where my journey with inChoir started if you’re not a fellow Redhillian, I started with the choir in June 2014 and the first song we learnt was Run closely followed by Tragedy! One of my first experiences with inChoir was having the chance to sing with Kerry Ellis in Horsham and well! What an amazing experience! I’ve loved Kerry Ellis since I was a little girl - I wrote to her when I was 13 and got an autograph, I even met her when she was playing Nancy in Oliver on the West End - never did I think I’d get to sing on the same stage as her! As well as that amazing opportunity, I’ve done lots of the smaller performances in Reigate, Nutfield, Crawley and Horley which were always great fun; even if it was chucking it down or so hot we were melting!

My experience of smaller gigs has always been with the extremes of English weather, it’s either been so cold and wet we all wanted to just go home and snuggle up with a cup of tea, or a heatwave where choir members were dropping like flies with the struggle of the beaming sun (usually ending with a very tomato coloured face on my part!). However, they have always been the best fun and we've all sung with big smiles on our faces.

The most rewarding but difficult performance I've done had to have been the Crawley Tree of Light service which took place on 6th December 2015. It was such a privilege to sing for so many people who gathered to remember their loved ones, and yes, it was an extremely emotional service with most, if not all of us ending up in tears. That night I wrote the following on Facebook which I think pretty much sums up the whole experience, and I've put a summary of the post below...

“Hey everyone! So today Sunday 6th December was a very tough day after a great week. [...]

I volunteer with inChoir who are a group of over 800 people in 12 different choirs around Surrey and Sussex, they are a wonderful group of people who constantly make me laugh and are all so full of love and joy and today I once again had the opportunity to perform with them at a very special service.

Today, different branches of InChoir joined together at K2 in Crawley to sing for the St Catherine's Hospice Tree of Light service, a beautiful community service to remember the loved ones of those who have been lost. Everyone who attends can put a star on the tree with their loved ones names as a way to celebrate and remember their life, whether they were looked after by St Catherine's or not.

Every single person in that service has been faced with losing someone they love and it was very difficult for us to carry on singing at some points during the service. For me it was the beginning of Lean on me when looking around I could see other people starting to tear up, but for others it was Caledonia, O Holy Night or Run. Well, I can tell you that when we finished there were very few dry faces in the choir! [...]

I just thought you should all know what wonderful people InChoir are and if you love singing you should definitely come along! Just go to inchoir.co.uk​ [...]'

Unfortunately, when I got home that night, my mum told me that my Great Aunt had passed away that morning, so this service will always stay in my heart as a tribute to Joan who was just the kindest woman you could meet. She had an amazing zest for life and was still driving and walking the dog at 5 in the morning at the age of 90! Joan passed away peacefully that day at the age of 99, missing her 100th birthday by just under 6 months, but because of the opportunity I had with inChoir that day, her memory will live on that little bit more.

Abbey Road has to be at the top of the list, it was the most amazing day in a very long time! It’s not every day a 19 year old can say “Oh yeah, when I was recording at Abbey Road…”! It was just the most fabulous but surreal experience I’ve had! As a musician, to record in the same studio as some of the best musicians of their time was such a privilege and once in a lifetime opportunity.

Mark and Karen have this fab comedic side to them, and even if you hear the same jokes and stories over and over again, I think most people will agree with me when I say they never get old, I still find myself in fits of giggles at stories I've heard 50 times; inChoir truly does produce some corkers! Whether its a story about Karen’s gorgeous kiddies or one of you guys doing something mortifying on a choir holiday, they always manage to make me smile.

Now, I couldn't write this without thanking some very special people for this great opportunity; Mark, Sue, Karen and Steph have been so supportive over the last two years and without them I wouldn't have this great volunteering experience to put on my CV. Because of these guys, I've had all these amazing things happen over the last two years and I've spent my Tuesday nights with a great bunch of people, they've been so generous and I cant thank them enough!

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’ve had the most fantastic time with all of you at inChoir and I can’t believe my journey with you is ending so soon; but I’ll be back! I mean, what are Redhill going to do without me?! Karen is still trying to convince me I don’t need a career or money, therefore I can stay with you forever!

Thank you for all the memories

Farewell for now…"

​We would like to with Alys all the very, very best of luck and we look forward to hearing everything she is up to!

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