Christmas Tree Festival

After the Star Team’s hard work making decorations, our tree will join those of other organisations at Burnley and Nelson United Reformed Church later this week.

Volunteers who can help to take the tree and decorate it on Wednesday 6th December between 11am and 2pm would be greatly appreciated. The church will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during similar hours so that visitors can call in and see the trees which will still be in place for our singing at the carol service on Sunday.

Tales from Minsteracres.


On 1st April, 9 choir members plus a couple of friends travelled to Minsteracres Retreat Centre for a weekend of singing led by our very own Janet and what a wonderful weekend we were in for. We all arrived in time for our evening meal and then we had our first session of singing and were soon getting to know each other. There were 24 of us altogether (23 ladies and David!) We all seemed ready for an early night after the travelling and the singing session.
We all met up again for breakfast on Saturday and then we had a morning singing session from 10.00 till 12.30. with a break for refreshments. (There were a lot of refreshments during the weekend!) By this time we were all singing our hearts out with the help of Janet and her usual mixture of enthusiasm and relaxation techniques.
We had a couple of hours free after lunch so quite a few of us went out, some walked round the grounds and others stayed in and relaxed (some in a semi-comatose state on the huge settees in front of the log fire). Three of us were lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the area by a lovely lady who lived locally which we enjoyed despite the weather.
We all met up again for a singing session from 4.30 to 6.00 and then we had our evening meal at 6.30 followed by Taize chants in the chapel. The chapel looked beautiful as all the lights had been dimmed and candles had been lit in front of the altar. After this the bar opened. I have never seen a bar like it. It just looked like a big cube until it was opened up but it had everything needed. We were all together in the lounge sitting round the wood burning stove and of course we had to break into song!! NOT ging gang gooley thank goodness, but a song about welcoming strangers in front of the fire.. Very appropriate. Our last singing session was on Sunday Morning after a rather substantial breakfast with a break for elevenses of course. Before we left we had a full Sunday lunch. The weekend could have been called ‘learning to eat for England’!!
It was a truly wonderful couple of days and we can’t wait for a repeat next year. We would just like to go at a warmer time so we can enjoy the grounds and surrounding area in sunshine. .
Janet was absolutely brilliant getting us all to sound as good as we did. It certainly made us appreciate how lucky we are to have her as our choir leader.
We all departed with ‘How Sweet the Sound’ buzzing around in our heads.

Singing for the Soul at Minsteracres, Durham.

Thank you to a everyone for an unforgettable weekend, especially Janet for the singing and the staff and volunteers of the Minsteracres retreat centre for the warm welcome and delicious food.

Thank you to Diane, Jackie and Minsteracres for the photos.

More about Minsteracres Retreat Centre here.

Getting ready to Sing for Water.

Photos show just a few of our choir members at the rehearsal.

Saturday 19th March was the first rehearsal of Sing for Water North 2016 and several of our choir went along to Accrington Library. There were apparently 52 of us there, all poised, excited and waiting to sing. Our inspiring and energetic teachers were Jules Gibb, Olwyn Pearce and our own lovely Janet Swan. I am new to singing, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect from our day but I have to say I absolutely loved it and haven’t stopped singing the songs since (much to my husband’s amusement!)

There are six songs to learn for the final performance which will be in Albert Square in Manchester on 12th June. By the end of a rather tiring, but hugely inspiring 5 hours, we had learned 4 of them and raised £460 for Wateraid! Two more rehearsals in Manchester if you missed the Accrington one and we’ll be learning the other songs at our own choir sessions…then we’ll be ready for our big sing so we’d love everyone to spread the word and to come along and support us.

Diane Halstead.

Details of Manchester rehearsals here..

We’re not drab now!

Sarah modelling our ‘new look’.

“We all just look a bit drab”. That was the comment made by one of the choir members when looking at a photo of ourselves performing around Christmas time. We needed to do something about it!
Suggestions were requested and we eventually decided upon a black ensemble with a brightly coloured scarf. However the decision wasn’t arrived at as easily as you might think as other suggestions were made and discarded. A white blouse. No good for those with ample proportions apparently! Also there are more than fifty shades of white, grey being one of them!
I must confess I aired my views quite strongly! I did not wear black! Have never worn black! And never intend to! Black is for old ladies! As the poem says: ‘when I am old I shall wear purple….’
With my lack of any ample proportions a black top and black trousers makes me look like a stick of liquorice! But my objections were ignored and the majority voted for a black outfit and for each person to get a different, brightly coloured scarf, giving a nice rainbow effect.
I begrudgingly went with the majority vote and headed home to order my new scarf online and I must admit that when I saw the array of beautiful bright scarves in every colour you could imagine, I began to think that perhaps the black outfit wasn’t such a bad idea after all! There was a beautiful bright pink one aptly named ‘Fuschia’ that would match my pink shoes. But there was also a lovely red one that would go with my red shoes and what about that nice blue one which would go with my blue earrings! I really had to stop myself from getting carried away and ordering every colour of the rainbow!
At the next choir session I could see that other members of the choir began to experience this same excitement upon seeing the variety of colours and eagerly began to chat about their chosen colour of scarf, green, my mum’s favourite colour, red for Red Mo, yellow, you can’t have a rainbow without a yellow.
Janet, we decided would wear a multi coloured one as she encompasses all of us!
I must say that despite all my reservations I think we will actually look very smart and bright and colourful and hopefully no one will ever say again that we look drab!!
Marie Hargreaves.

Register for Sing for Water North. 2016.


Registration for Sing for Water North 2016 is now open. Once you register, and donate to Wateraid, you will be able to listen to and practise the various parts for the songs we will sing on the day 12th June, in Manchester. At the moment there are only 4 available but the last two will be uploaded shortly.
The ones available at the moment are amazing and, not wishing to give anything away, we may have to find our Zulu spirit and voices again!

Register here.

The organisers have used a different method to make the songs available and if you use an iPhone or iPad you may need to download the app Google Drive. Please contact me if you are having problems.
Please don’t forget our day in Accrington on March 19th. Book this through Janet.
Message from Janet


Happy New Year !

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.


Dates for 2016.

1. Dates.
Next Term.
Return 19th Jan 2016 – No choir 23rd Feb – Finish for Easter 22nd March.

Summer Term.
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 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.
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.