We’ve spoken frequently about our choir leader Emily Peasgood; artist and composer extraordinaire. This time round, she has composed for Merge Festival, in partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust and Tate Modern, a piece centred around Crossbones Garden. Speaking about the project, she says, “Established as early as the 17th century, Crossbones is believed to be the final resting place for prostitutes, known as ‘Winchester Geese’, paupers, criminals and children – those who could not afford burial or were deemed unfit for burial in consecrated ground. The identities of those buried within are largely unknown; there are no distinguishable plots or headstones, but instead a cemented surface surrounded by a community garden created by Bankside Open Spaces Trust in collaboration with the Friends of Crossbones”. With this interactive piece set to air from 8th June until 1st July there is a buzz of anticipation around waiting to hear the next unique, orginal and as usual, unusual piece from our talented leader.
Some weeks ago we looked into how singing in a choir could help us to psychologically feel better within ourselves and improve our sense of wellbeing. This week we are going to delve into the physiological side of the argument; coming hand in hand with mental wellbeing, our physical health can be hugely impacted by singing in a choir, so here are just some of the benefits. Firstly, whilst “Exercise is one of the few activities in life that is indisputably good for us,” Daniel H. Pink tells us in his book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.” “Choral singing might be the new exercise.” It is thought that the practice of singing can increase your lung capacity, regulate your heart beat and increase the rate of release of endorphins (happy hormones). Research undertaken by Cardiff University even uncovered a secret within singing that could improve symptoms of lung cancer and Parkinson’s. A Music Professor Brenville Hancox “established, Skylarks, a choir aimed at people with Parkinson’s Disease. One of the participants in the choir explained how his voice had been strengthened, despite receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s five years earlier. Reasons for the improvement have been suggested as deep breathing and the extended use of the vocal chords.” Add all these impressive health benefits to those psychological benefits we discussed previously and singing in a choir sounds like a fantastic idea! You can give it a try at a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
Hello all! We wanted to update you on some key developments in our concert preparations – just to make you even more excited! We’ve started inviting members of the choir to try out singing solos to see if they’d like to in the concert – these will be decided for certain at the start of June so they can be perfected. We only have one song left to start, all others are already in progress or learnt so we’re very close to ready on the musical side. Finally, tickets and posters are in the process of being designed for this year’s concert; tickets are already for sale online and hard sales will be available from June. All is on the way to completion and we hope to see you all there on Saturday 21st July!
Did you know that singing in a choir makes you feel better in yourself? Now, we’re biased, of course, but let’s have a look at some research from those who aren’t. Research published by the University of Oxford and the Cambridge University Press has shown that “people feel more positive after actively singing than they do after passively listening to music or after chatting about positive life events.” The researchers have put this down to the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine as well as reducing stress and decreasing blood pressure. Even a journalist from the Independent, Simmy Richman, who was invited to join Chaps Choir for a time to experience this first hand said that, “seeing the effect everyone’s voices were having left me quite overcome” and went as far as to say that he noticed his, “four-year-old son has been told that he can come and watch me sing and his excitement is contagious. It occurs to me how little our children see of us outside of our role as their parents. When we go out to work, we close the door on them or drop them off at school. They have little or no tangible idea of what it is we do when we get there. The knowledge that my son will see me in an entirely fresh context, taking my part in a public performance, makes me realise, momentarily, what it must feel like for the David Beckhams of this world. Hey kiddo, this is just one of the things your old man can do. Come and watch.” Sound interesting? Why not put the research to the test yourself and come for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
That’s right, everyone! We are back for another fun and musical term of en Choir rehearsals and it looks like it’s going to be a scorcher! We’ll be cracking down on our long standing tunes like Sweet Child of Mine and putting the finishing touches to our new repertoire such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Bring Him Home. But this term, we’re also going to be looking at some of the more philosophical aspects of being in a choir – next week we’ll be focusing on the benefits of singing in a choir. If you’d like to learn practically about these benefits then pop down to one of our rehearsals for a free trial or contact us with any queries.
We like to ensure that all our members and audiences alike enjoy their experience with en Choir to no end; this is why we encourage reviews on our Facebook page as well as offering the opportunity to leave feedback in our Feedback Box at rehearsals. We thought it was high time you knew for certain that we do listen: we were given the feedback that more people liked sheet music, if not to read then to at least be able to follow the pattern of the notes. Sheet music is now available for nearly all of the songs we sing. In addition, we were told by several that there were certain pieces of our repertoire that just weren’t that popular; so, to alleviate the possibility of this happening, we set up an online vote so that the choir members could pick which songs they wanted to learn so this year we are singing those songs with the highest votes. It would be impossible to pick an entire repertoire that absolutely everyone like but we’ll try to come as close as we can! In return for us acting upon your feedback, we have had reviews from several past and current members to say that en Choir is “a really fun choir” with a “friendly bunch of people” who sing “a good mix of songs”. One reviewer went as far as to say we are the “Highlight of my week!” Thank you everyone for your feedback, keep it coming! Does en Choir sound like a fun pastime you’d like to try? Come down for a free trial rehearsal Wednesday 18th April or contact us with any queries.
Another term has come and gone for us at en Choir, and as fast as this year is going, we’ve had lots of fun already with plenty more to come! Whilst we are taking a nice two week break from rehearsals, you can still look forward to your weekly read with our blogs. As for now, we hope the Easter Bunny brings you some lovely surprises (and not too much rain!) and we’ll look forward to seeing all of you at our first rehearsal back on Wednesday 18th April.
It’s time to start threading another feather into our cap! Whilst it isn’t all the way there, we are well on the way to learning Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre. This iconic song will be one of many to feature in this year’s annual concert, so watch this space! Fancy singing this song and loads more? Come down for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
We are very excited that this week we will be playing host to Simon Foster from The Flying Pickets! He is running a workshop with us that aims to improve how we sing as a group whilst specifically focusing on one of the songs featuring in this year’s concert – Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. Sound like something you’d like to try? Come down for a free trial rehearsal or contact us with any queries.
She, of course, being our ever-striving, ever-smiling, practically effervescent choir leader, Emily Peasgood; who only last night presented members of the public with VOICE100! This piece, commissioned by POW! Thanet was designed to celebrate 100 years since women were granted the vote. POW! Thanet say, “Featuring the recorded voices of 100 children and adults who share their experiences, this powerful and provocative artwork is at the very heart of POW!” Along with this installation, many of our choir members as well as our sister choir BIGMOUTH Chorus sung an anthem which we were incredibly proud to be a part of. This sort of happening just goes to show that the power of women, to this day, continues to grow.