Sam is currently the youngest member of Raunds Community Choir and he has kindly contributed this week’s blog post.
As many of you will know, some of our choir members have recently taken part in a charity choir concert (a la Gareth Malone) in which 6 choirs were formed from scratch in order to compete against each other, after a few month’s practice. The aim was not just to win but to raise as much money for Cransley Hospice as possible.
A fantastic total of £5200+ was raised for Cransley; a very respectable sum of money indeed.
“A Different Direction” – the choir lead by Chris and helped out by Mike and myself (Sam) from Raunds Community Choir – was comprised of just 14 people.
I sang for a good few years, back when I was at senior school. I was the only bass in a choir of nine people. Having now sung with Raunds Community Choir for what must be getting on for four years; returning to such a small group of singers was truly bizarre.
Learning to sing again with vastly reduced numbers was a bit of a learning curve (hence the oxymoron in the title). Perhaps the best way of putting it would be that this is the choral equivalent of writing with your ‘other’ hand – you know what your handwriting should look like, however holding a pen in the wrong hand and trying to scribble out the most basic of letters is quite a task! (I urge you to try this if you haven’t!)
When singing in the Raunds Community Choir, one gets used to the people one stands near. From my place in the choir I’m quite used to hearing Richard, Heather, Lucy, my mum and sometimes the tenors, too (often difficult as I’m stood behind them). When I walked into Chris’s house for the first time, being met with a group of people I’d not met before, not sung with before – introducing myself; let alone singing; was rather hard! Once the initial nerves and mild social anxiety had passed, things began to settle into place.
As the few weeks before the concert passed, the choir members began to feel more at ease with each other, with Chris, and the idea that shortly we’d all be singing in front of 300+ people for the first time. Ever. Okay, perhaps the phrase “at ease with” and the latter didn’t gel all that well…
With Raunds Choir, only one or two people get truly nervous before a performance – perhaps this is something to do with “safety in numbers”. Our choir is roughly 40-strong – this means that when we get up on stage and start to sing, it is as though each of our voices melts into one. This is not so much the case with “A Different Direction”, so the vulnerability added a level of sheer terror and also thrill to the entire experience; particularly when tuning, timing, and not looking utterly petrified clicked into place. As you all know – the hard work paid off and “A Different Direction” was awarded Judges’ Choice.
So having had the chance to sing in both a large and a small choir; which do I prefer? Both. Equally.
Both choirs are incredibly good fun. You become part of a family, almost. The main difference being that the family is more close-knit with “A Different Direction”; but that the onus is put upon each member more than in RaundsCommunity Choir. Each has its own ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ and its own quirks that make it special.
So, should the opportunity arise for you to sing in a different choir – whether it be bigger, smaller, religious, showy, etc. grab that opportunity by the horns and go for it! Trust me, you’ll not regret it!
“A Different Direction” had another meeting yesterday. The choir is going to continue and will hopefully perform again around Christmas time.
To close, I would like to not only thank you for reading this; but also to thank Chris for asking Mike and I to take part in something so different, and so special. The choir would not be the same were it not for Chris’s enthusiasm, determination and hard work.