Christmas greetings

Over twenty Choir members and Janet had a lovely meal together at Loom Makers in Burnley on Sunday evening after we had enjoyed singing at Burnley and Nelson United Reformed Church’s carol service.

Our Christmas tree looked resplendent and we don’t look bad ourselves, do we?

Thanks to all who braved the weather and sang so well. As always, thanks to Janet for encouraging us and holding us together.

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.

More from Sing for Water North 2017

Janet Swan, our leader, and our choir can feel proud for making Sing for Water North 2017 happen this year. We were all so disappointed to hear that it wouldn’t be happening in Manchester that we decided to get a couple of local choirs together and have a smaller version of the Manchester event here in East Lancashire. The result was that it snowballed and we had 150 registrations and Sing for Water North was up and running. The weather forecast for the day was anything but promising with day long heavy rain on the cards. Thankfully we were allowed to use St James’ Church, Accrington, in the morning for rehearsals and we avoided a soaking. Janet and Olwyn (from Secret Singers Choir) taught us new songs whilst Jules refreshed our memories with songs from last year. Singing with all four parts was amazing and our voices filled the church. 

Lunch was eaten in the church, by most of us, with our dear Diane providing the cabaret, when she stuck the WaterAid temporary tattoo onto her face without reading the instructions. After much giggling, Sarah saved the day and Diane was ready to sing. 

By the time we walked down to Accrington town centre the rain had eased off and we were ready to sing. Despite the weather, a good group of people stopped to listen and the bucket collection went well. It was wonderful to sing in such a big choir which sounded so good even though we’d only had the morning to put all the parts together. We were quite damp by the end. 

Of course the main aim was raising money and we certainly did that. Altogether we have been able to give WaterAid £3,000 so that’s 200 more people with clean water and sanitation.. and all because of our singing. 

Everyone’s photos. 
Diane and Sarah providing the cabaret. 

Dates for singers’ diaries

6th December 2016. No choir

20th December 2016. Last session. You’re welcome to bring a friend for Christmas music with mince pies and other treats. 

3rd  January 2017. Return to choir. You’re welcome to bring a friend again for New Year fun.

7th February 2017. Midterm break. 

28th March 2017. Second midterm break. 

11th April 2017. Easter break. (Just one missed session for Easter) 

23rd May 2017. Midterm break. 

27th June & 4th July 2017. Second midterm break. 

25th July 2017. Last session. 

1st-3rd September 2017. Residential summer school at Minsteracres. 

12th September 2017. Return to choir . 

Singing Aunties Sing for their Supper 

Our latest ‘gig’ included a lovely surprise when choir member Bev brought her new baby, Richard (only two weeks old), to join in the fun. We could hardly do the warm up for all the ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’. He didn’t stay for the performance of course but was very well behaved for the warm up despite being awake. 

We had been invited to sing at St John’s Church, Ivy St at their hospice fundraiser and this included a quiz and pie and peas supper. Janet decided a variety of songs were in order, ranging from ‘Singing in the Rain’ to ‘Allelujah’ and this worked really well for the audience  Our final song, just before supper was served,  was ‘Food Glorious Food’ and we were loudly applauded for our efforts. Several members had actually bought tickets to go but we also had a collection, from choir members, and presented £35 to add to the total. Including the activities on Sunday, at the church, they raised more than £1,000 for the hospice.  

A poem for Janet. 

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 

and stars.

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. 

Cecilia Knapp

Soaking Wet for Water Aid.


What a day Sing for Water North 2016 turned out to be. A group of 14 women from Singing for the Soul choir set off from Burnley, on the X43 bus, to join many other choirs to ‘sing for water’, in Albert Square, Manchester. We left Burnley in glorious sunshine, with some of us feeling confident that the sun would continue to shine. However many people turned up, very sensibly, in fleeces and trainers with waterproof jackets whilst the optimists turned up in lightweight macs, short sleeves and even sandals.

We arrived in Manchester to find people were already gathering and, before we knew it, all 300 or so of us sorted ourselves out into our colours, blue for sopranos, purple for altos etc. Olwyn and Jackie lead us from the front and it went so well. It went so well that after ‘Singing in the Rain’ the heavens opened. At first it was fun and it seemed appropriate that it should happen but after a few minutes, glasses were steaming up, rain running down the necks of the optimists and the rest unable to hear properly because their hoods were up, so we had to dash for shelter.
We were undaunted though as Manchester Town Hall came to the rescue and allowed us the privilege of singing inside. People were moved to tears to be a part of such a huge choir, singing in such an amazing place with such fabulous acoustics.

Thanks to Diane Halstead for the short film.
Janet Large also made two recordings of the full songs.
Let the River Run.

At lunchtime it was still raining and we became squatters in the town hall, all sitting in window alcoves, to eat together and laugh, of course. Sarah Nutter was busy with her camera and captured some of the squatters.


Then we were ready to start. We trooped back to Albert Square to find the rain had eased off. Despite the showers we were magnificent. We got through the repertoire almost perfectly .. Then we did them all again.

All recordings can be found here.

The main thing of course was that we were singing for Wateraid. We raised £900 by collecting with buckets on the day and £7,800 in total so far this year.

It’s not too late to give. Just giving.

Why not join us for next year. Fun and good singing guaranteed.

Thank you to everyone involved but especially to Janet Swan who made sure we were all ready for the day, by the giving up of her own time for extra rehearsals and for creating such a great choir, giving everyone a chance to find their voice and be a part of Sing for Water North 2016.