My only prior experience of singing in a choir was when I was at secondary school. I would join in November to do the carol concert in December and get out of lessons to practice!
I was introduced to Godalming Jazz Choir in the summer of 2014, when I attended a show at Charterhouse school. The flyer in my programme had already aroused my interest, and I was then lucky enough to win, in the raffle, a free term which felt as if fate was telling me I had to get off my backside on a Sunday evening and sing!
I contacted Phoebe and was made to feel instantly welcome to come along. So with my DVD set to record the evenings viewing, I set off for the Café Mila. On arrival I was met by a group of friendly people, all who love to sing, and I was hooked.
Each week we start with our warm up – some amusing scales involving insects and animals, and some risqué tongue twisters, which have since got me into trouble when I have tried to repeat them at home. In more surreal moments you will find us walking about singing random words as we pass each other and when Phoebe is in one of her devilish moods we can be found working our bodies and minds as well as our voices, trying to remember to clap on ‘3’, bob on ‘6’ and don’t even get me started on how much wood a wood chuck chucks. I’m exhausted before we even start singing, though this is mostly due to the fact that it always makes me laugh.
Phoebe works hard to provide us with a selection of old and new songs for us to try and master, and whilst I am more familiar with the older songs, sometimes that works against me as I want to sing what I know, not what I should, whereas with the newer ones half the time I haven’t got a clue, so tend to do as I’m told… well, that is until I start singing someone else’s harmony. I may not be singing my bit, but I am still singing. So far I’ve sung with bass, tenor, alto and could probably manage mezzo although you’ll be glad to know I won’t even attempt soprano. There are times when I struggle, but Phoebe and Alex are very patient, and will go over it until I’ve got it - until the next week when it’s like I’ve never heard it before in my life. If I could work out how to use the record function on my phone I would.
In my life away from GJC, I have been a nurse since I was seventeen, and appeared in a couple of hospital pantomimes in my early twenties. Cast as Wendy in Peter Pan and the lead in Cinderella I feel this was down to my ability to hold a tune rather than any acting talents. I took up tap dancing around fourteen years ago, something I’d always wanted to do, and around the time I started at GJC, I started attending Fitsteps classes – exercise through dance rather than struggling at a gym. I have a seventeen year old son who I asked to help me with this and this was his contribution;
I like to sing. This lets me sing. I am very poor at singing but they still let me join in. I like it. ☺
Personally I think I am the Fred Astaire of Guildford, but with a better voice.