I have always loved music & singing & had sung in choirs throughout my school years in South Africa, but haven’t done so since then. Joining a choir had been on my New Year’s resolutions list for a number of years, but I just never got around to it (same as most New Year’s resolutions!). After a recent divorce & some grim times, I wanted to find things to do to fill my time & meet new people, so I started to do some looking around & was amazed at just how many local choirs there actually are. Although I studied music at school & love classical music & have a very eclectic taste, I was more keen on joining a choir that are not too dull & serious & that sang a range of different music, whilst having fun in the process. I heard “through a friend of a friend” about Godalming Jazz Choir & decided that it sounded as though this was going to be more the thing I was looking for & suited my musical tastes as well.
I made contact with Phoebe, who I warmed to immediately as she was so vibrant, welcoming & enthusiastic. With a little trepidation I went along to my first Sunday night at Café Mila & instantly felt at ease as the people were warm, friendly, fun & seemed to be enjoying every minute. Phoebe & Alex were great & I was hooked pretty much from the start. There was no audition or feeling as though one’s ability was being judged, that one might not “make the grade” or anything, everyone is welcome & it’s just a really enjoyable & relaxed environment. Everyone is there to sing, have fun & enjoy themselves each week irrespective of talent or formal musical training, & I think we all come away from choir on a real buzz, regardless of what sort of day or week we’ve had. We also meet up for the occasional social which is great & we have all become like one growing happy family.
Our warm ups are always a great source of entertainment, & the look of uncertainty on some of the new faces who are unfamiliar with our antics is priceless. We have all sorts of weird & wonderful scales, arpeggios, tongue twisters, sirens, raspberries etc to get us warmed up. We’re usually already all laughing within the first few minutes as we can be silly, let our hair down & it’s just a happy, fun & relaxed environment. I have met some great people through the choir & I look forward to seeing them each week. Phoebe is so patient, flexible, energetic & encourages us all, regardless of ability. Alex is fantastic as our talented accompanist on keyboard & is so helpful, patient & also a lot of fun. Since I joined in May of 2015, we have doubled in size & our singing & overall sound have just gone from strength to strength. A few of our performances had a few minor glitches along the way, but latterly & as our numbers have increased, we have sounded more & more awesome! I sometimes get goose bumps when those harmonies just gel together perfectly.
The range of songs & Phoebe’s arrangements are fantastic & really suits my tastes, many of which are well known songs of old, & some of which are new to me & have been great to learn. I started out as an alto, was then bass for a time & am now part of a lovely little trio of tenors (Sally, Bob & Nigel ….. will have to explain another time!). We love every minute & spend so much time laughing & having a great evening. I always look forward to Sunday nights, as they are a highlight of my week & I always come away feeling happy. They’re all such a great bunch of people, of all ages & abilities & we are always looking to welcome more members. Come along & join us, you won’t regret it.