Saturday, 11 June 2011

Hunstanton Community Choir

They have long had an image of choristers, cassocks and church music but in recent years the choir has become cool.

A surge of television programmes about singing has struck a chord with people and a community choir renaissance has seen groups spring up in towns and villages across the region.

They have long had an image of choristers, cassocks and church music but in recent years the choir has become cool.
A surge of television programmes about singing has struck a chord with people and a community choir renaissance has seen groups spring up in towns and villages across the region.
A newly-launched choir in Hunstanton attracted more than 40 people to its first meeting.
Founder and choir mistress Claire Bloor worked with the BBC's motivational maestro Gareth Malone, who famously brought singing to the masses in the BBC documentary The Choir, on an early community project in his career at the Wigmore Hall in London.
She said she signed up to his ethos of including everybody and programmes such as The Choir, the drama All the Small Things and American sitcom Glee Club had definitely inspired people.
“There seems to be singing everywhere,” she said. “People that haven't had the confidence to get
up and do it before are getting up now.
“We want everybody to feel welcome. There are no auditions. People ask, 'Do you have to be able to sing?'
“You don't have to bring anything, just come along. It tends to really appeal to people.
“I was amazed by the turnout in the first week.”
Carol O'Neill, who lives in Rougham, has been working with community choirs for 15 years and has recently set up three in Swaffham, Fakenham and Snettisham.
She said: “People are mentioning Gareth Malone's name a lot. It has had an effect.
“We've been doing this work for years, but now it is in the public consciousness; suddenly people are coming out of the woodwork.”
Simon Crawford, 59, joined the Hunstanton Community Choir when it started earlier this year. He said he had been part of a choir at school where they had sung Handel's Messiah.
“It was one of the most memorable experiences of my school days and it has always been in the back of my mind.”
He said he had never come across anything like the community choir in his 27 years in Hunstanton.
“I think people have realised that all ages and all levels can get involved.
“You do not have to read music; you just have to enjoy singing. It gets people out if they are on their own and gets them meeting people.”
Tina Blackman, 52, who lives in Snettisham, said: “We come because we enjoy it. It's just fun. We used to be part of a choir years ago, but with family commitments we couldn't really get involved.”
Andrea Prowdfoot, who has joined the Hunstanton choir after enjoying being part of a King's Lynn community choir started last year, said: “We feel euphoric afterwards.”

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