Last week, ‘Singing for the Soul’ choir celebrated its fourth birthday in style with lots of lively singing, eating and drinking (tea and coffee only!!) Four years ago a group of women met up at Coldwell Cafe, for a singing day, under the leadership of Janet Swan. As a result, the choir was born.
Now many of those women are still singing with the choir though we have welcomed many new members since those early days. So on Tuesday, 10th of March, we invited old and new members to our celebration and were delighted to see so many enthusiastic singers coming through the doors of Brierfield Library where we now meet.
After a gentle warm up we learned some new songs amid much laughter and enjoyed sharing some old ones with our guests who had not been to the choir before. In the break we all got to know one another better over a brew and a piece of birthday cake.
Thanks to Sue for getting the lovely cake and to Janet for organising the event.
At nine o’clock we all said our goodbyes with a spring in our step and promises from many of the guests that they would be returning! It was so good to share our momentous occasion with so many people and will be delighted to see them all at our next singing session!
The photo, above, is of the writer Marie (on the right) who brought her friend Sheila, who has now decided to join the choir.
The photo, below, shows some of the comments people wrote during the break.
Our extra pre-Christmas session proved to be a great success with forty women in total turning up to sing, and eat together. About twenty of these were people responding to our advertising or personal invitation and whom we hadn’t met before. It was good to see a few former members again too.
Janet taught us some new songs as well as returning to some old favourites. The results were very impressive ending in a three part harmony of a new Christmas song none of us had sung before. Almost everyone wanted to sing but one or two were happy just to listen.
A great selection of seasonal food was provided as well as mulled wine (non-alcoholic variety, as many people were driving). All the food was organised, bought and prepared by Janet and few choir members. Thank you to them for that.
Our next session like this is on January the 3rd. All women are welcome as before.
The session was paid for by Clinical Commissioning Group-Prescription for Wellbeing Fund (part of the NHS) as the health benefits of singing are well known.
Thank you also to everyone who contributed to our Christmas collection, instead of sending cards to each other. As a result more than £38 was spent on festive fair for the food bank. Thank you to choir member Sue who shopped for this and delivered it to the food bank.
And finally… Happy Christmas to everyone and see you on January 3rd for a good sing with lots more to eat .. don’t forget to bring a friend again.
Written at The Poetry Takeaway, Burnley Canal Festival, by Cecilia Knapp. Janet was interviewed for a few minutes and this poem was the end result. You may feel like it was written for our choir too.
The voices sound like night skies
Purples and bruised blues
The voices sound like heather on the hills.
They are everyone’s heartbreak
And everyone’s joy, plaited together,
Reaching fingers into souls-
“Will you go lassie go”-
They sound like hands on shoulders,
Like comfort whispered into ears –
They sound like holding hands.
They sound like history.
Devastating and beautiful.
Hopeful and full of tomorrows
And wing beats
And ancient feelings-
Carried from eyes and heartbeats and lungs through windows, to ceilings.
A veil of sound to stir the silt that sits within us.
A reminder that choir returns tomorrow 19th Jan. We meet as usual at 7pm at Brierfield Library.
There are lots of plans for this year including participation in Wateraid again as well a project sharing music and songs with women, from around the world…. And lots more.
All women welcome.
A good start to 2016 as our choir featured on a half page spread, about our singing in Padiham at the interfaith Nativity service, with the Sufi Muslims, in the Burnley Express for January 1st. Many more interesting and fun happenings ahead for us all this year.
Return 19th Jan 2016 – No choir 23rd Feb – Finish for Easter 22nd March.
Return 12th April. – No choir 24th May – Finish mid July.
2. Sing for Water will be on 12 June.
A chance to sing in a combined choir of about 300 in Manchester, rehearse locally with other people, rehearse on Tuesday night with Janet, produce an amazing sound and raise money for Wateraid.. To say nothing of the fun.
You can see us in Manchester here http://youtu.be/0lVrIjm-zgg. We are singing in Zulu and some of the altos discovered their true Zulu spirit!
3. Singing weekend at Minsteracres with Janet, 1st -3rd April.
See here for more details. http://www.minsteracres.org/retreats/janet-swan/
Although Minsteracres is a Christian retreat centre everyone is catered for.. Even if you just want to sing and have a walk round the lovely grounds. We can get a group discount and only a small deposit is needed. We can discuss this and book on our return in January.
To see everyone individually and read what they say, see the page above.