After a well-earned summer break, Stokes Singers are keen to tune up for the start of our new season when weekly rehearsals start again on Thursday 5th September.
Singing is what brings us all together, writes founder member Sue Callow, and we can’t wait to meet up and get going. I really miss my singing family and it will be good to see everyone again and catch up on the news.
Singing is frequently in the media these days. The Sing Up Foundation (singupfoundation.org) reports that singing lowers cortisol and relieves stress and tension, as well as boosting confidence. Singing is a mindful activity as it needs you to switch off from your busy thoughts and focus totally on what you’re doing.
Singing is also a great social activity which creates a strong sense of community, and learning a new skill is a proven way to keep the brain in good shape.
Singing strengthens the immune system so it could be the perfect way to ward off those bugs that come with the cooler weather and, as an aerobic activity, it increases overall health. It sounds like an all-round winner!
If you love to sing and would like to give a community choir a try, why not come along to a Stokes Singers rehearsal? Our current venue is Coniston Community Centre in Patchway, which is a welcoming, accessible building with free car parking right outside.
We’re very fortunate to have not one but two talented musical directors who are a great partnership. Sian Walters and Philip Lawrence are both trained teachers and professional musicians and, although their styles are very different, they work well together to make rehearsals fun but challenging. They both have a wealth of knowledge of singing techniques and are able to offer advice to both experienced and novice singers on how to get the best from your voice.
With around 30 male and female members, we sing a range of music from pop to traditional folk via stage and screen and the occasional big choral piece. Most of our music is in three- or four-part harmony, with some songs being arranged especially for us. We learn from musical scores or by ear, so it’s not essential to read music – a lot of us don’t. Everyone gets a chance to suggest music for the choir to sing and to vote for the organisations which we support at our concerts. This summer we were delighted to present a cheque for £300 to St Mungo’s who work with the homeless in the Bristol area.
Stokes Singers is a registered charity run by a committee of volunteer trustees, so we’re able to keep our subscriptions at only £3.75 per week, which covers the running costs, loan of a folder of music and our trademark turquoise polo shirts (black also available for men!) for informal performances at community events. That’s great value for three hours of entertainment. We always go home re-energised with a few tunes to sing in the car or in the shower!
Take a look at our website www.stokessingers.org.uk for more information and email us or ring Gillian on 0748 6570 910. We’ll be learning new music throughout September, so it’s a great time to join us. Sian and Phil have promised no Christmas music for the first few weeks and they usually stick to their word! We look forward to seeing you soon.
Photo: Choir members pictured prior to their 2019 summer concert.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 18). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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