Rock Choir is a nationwide contemporary choir, with around 30,000 members, started by Caroline Redman Lusher in 2005. It is open to everyone and there are no auditions. I joined the Guildford, Godalming and Farnham choir in September 2016, after seeing them perform. The choir is led by Tom George.
Learning to sing has always been on my “to do” list but confidence has always held me back. In Godalming, we have Music in the Park every Sunday throughout the summer and one Sunday it was Rock Choir. I vowed to join, then and there, but it took another three years for me to sign up.
It has been a very steep learning curve but incredibly enjoyable. Lower alto is my natural fit but, even singing with the lowers, I’ve been challenged to hit notes that I never think I’m going to reach (although I do end up pulling some strange faces!). Tom has a great balance of making the sessions really enjoyable with his anecdotes and offering technical advice and tricks to improve our sound. He is very professional and takes our performances very seriously.
Performing is a big part of being in Rock Choir but there is no pressure to do so. You can sign up for everything or nothing, it’s completely up to you. I’ve done most of my performances in Godalming, either at The Pepperpot, on the High Street, or in the Bury’s or Church of St Peters and St Pauls. My favourite venue, so far, is the Tunsgate Centre in Guildford. I love the sound in there, especially when we sing around the balcony.
There have been a few days out, which I’ve been able to join. We did a Mystery Tour where we sang at three different venues – The Cloisters in Godalming, Hatchlands Park and Watt’s Gallery. I had a bee fly straight into me during one of the songs and had to stay completely still!
My favourite Rock Choir experience has to be doing a Flash Mob at the BBC Proms in the Park at Hyde Park. 10,000 of us all started singing Dancing in the Street, much to the confusion of the rest of the crowd! All the choir leaders were performing on stage and we joined them for another three songs. My favourite moment was when the man next to me gave me a teary hug after we had sang Hallelujah. Also, I got a bit carried away with the flag waving, when we were right at the front, for the Land of Hope and Glory bit.
Our choir and the other local choirs are all so friendly. They really make everyone feel welcome. I’ve got so many wonderful and supportive friends that I’ve made since I joined, in all the singing sections. I’ve also got my special lower alto singing buddy, Helen, who I have always have fun with at rehearsals. Unfortunately we don’t often get to sing next to each other during performances due to extreme height differences!
My favourite songs have been Halo by Beyonce, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel, Human by Rag n Bone Man, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and we’re just starting to learn This is Me from The Greatest Showman, which I love.
Recently I pushed way out of my comfort zone to have a go in rehearsals at my first solo – Roar by Katy Perry. I feel like it’s really improved my singing and confidence.
I look forward to many more years of singing with the choir and laughing with my Rock Choir friends. Tom will always be a constant source of entertainment for both us and the crowds who come to watch us.
If you are interested in joining Rock Choir, you can sign up for a taster session at www.rockchoir.com
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