Experience of a new member who had never sung in a Choir before . . .
My wife and I moved into the Holme Valley when we both decided to take early retirement and relocate to wonderful West Yorkshire from ‘over the hill’ in Cheshire.
I was introduced to singing by a long term friend in the form of Karaoke at his house and then later in my own house and found that, to my surprise, I not only enjoyed singing, but as I tried new songs my vocals got better (over time) and I developed a good repertoire of modern and old pop/rock songs.
When we moved to “The Valley” I had seen a Gareth Malone choir program and wondered what it would be like to be a part of a group of singers and try to make those beautiful lilting harmonies I had heard on TV.
I turned to the trusty Google and typed in “Choir Holme Valley” and was presented with the website and contact details for Holme Valley Singers. I am quite a shy person (until you get to know me and then I NEVER shut up) but I sent off an email to the contact and asked if I could try out for the choir. I explained that I sang a bit if Karaoke but that I could not read music.
David Brown (the current choir Chairperson) replied and suggested we meet in a pub to discuss, so, liking the idea of the pub, I agreed. David soothed my fears and explained that “enthusiasm, commitment and an ability to want to learn, far outweighs a need to be able to read music or any prior experience” so I agreed to attend my first choir rehearsal the following Tuesday evening.
The choir is a mixed voice choir of 30+ members with ages ranging from 30’s up to 80’s. Some newbies like myself were there and other members had been with the choir for over forty years. Musicians and non musicians from all trades and walks of life, a real tapestry of the community, if you’ll let my poetic juices run a little.
I’d explained my karaoke songs to David and he suggested I sit in the Baritone Section of the choir next to one of the longest serving members who would show me the ropes.
I cannot tell a lie, that first evening blew my mind. I was given a piece of music which had words, lines and dots and a whole host of other things. Some of the words were not even in english (a Swahili song we were learning) but my mentor kept reminding me it was my first night and it would get easier, and it did.
I kept going back, because I love to sing, I love learning new songs, I love the feeling of making those lilting harmonies I was hoping for, I love how friendly the choir members are, I’ll be honest and say, after 10 months I still don’t know everyone's name but I’m working on it.
We have a fantastic musical director and accompanist, it is great that we have fun while rehearsing, a few of us (anyone is welcome, it's not a click) visit the pub after our Tuesday rehearsal.
The choir tend to work towards a couple of concerts in the summer months and then a few concerts around Christmas which, after you’ve done your first, and no I can tell you they cannot hear your knees knocking in the front row, are a joy to perform. This year we are taking a portion of our choir to a Pop Concert for choirs in Otley and some of the choir are going on a trip over to Italy to visit a choir we have links with to perform with them. Quite a
few of our members are involved with other choirs, choral societies, quartets and octets and would be happy to share their knowledge with you.
If you like to sing or would like to try, like the idea of being a part of a choral family, singing songs from Take That’s “Shine” to Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis (no I hadn’t heard of it either but it is rousing) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org our subs are low and the fun is turned up to 11.
"I joined Holme Valley Singers about 9 months ago after attending an 'Open Rehearsal'. Everyone in the choir was very friendly and welcoming. I don't read music very well but find I can manage OK by listening and attending rehearsals regularly. The Choir has a good repertoire of music and is professional yet friendly - I would encourage anyone to join!"
"I have been a member of Holme Valley Singers for some 20 years or more, during which time I have taken part in many performances both in concert and competition. These are always rewarding experiences particularly from a musical point of view. The wide range of music in the Choir's repertoire appeals to singers and listeners alike and continues to give me great satisfaction and pleasure.
Weekly practices are always undertaken in a relaxed and enjoyable manner and atmosphere, with the objective to achieve a high standard of performance. I have no formal training or education in music but with the benefit of experience with the Choir I do not find this to be a problem and I am able to sight-read to an acceptable standard.
I continue to enjoy the companionship and making of music with the Choir and the friendly atmosphere in which that takes place."
"I have been a member of the Choir since 1977. I loved singing as a child and took up the opportunity to carry on my interest in adulthood. As I don't read music I have to listen well to learn my part, then I'm fine.
I get a lot out of choir and find the singing and friendship, enjoyable and therapeutic."
"I joined the Holme Valley Singers just over 2 years ago. When I was younger I sang solos in Church and was in school choirs and productions. I took piano exams up to Grade 6 and therefore can sight-read well, but apart from tinkling on the piano every now and then for my own pleasure, did nothing really musical from then until about 3 years ago when I joined a community choir with my daughter. I realised then that I wanted more of a challenge and when my children were old enough to leave alone I joined Holme Valley Singers. I love singing with them as they are not too serious, we have a laugh, and have a great variety of music, something for everyone I think, but I especially like the modern popular pieces. The musical director, Kim, is full of energy and a great conductor!"