I have been a singing student with Phoebe Gaydon who is Choir Director of the Godalming Jazz Choir for several years and was mildly interested when she said she had formed a choir in Godalming and invited me to join. It took several weeks before I decided that I could make room for another choir rehearsal, this time on a Sunday night.
Not living in Godalming, finding our rehearsal room in the studio over the Café Mila, provided something of a challenge, but nothing compared with that first night when I found myself in a group of less than a dozen, and as you can guess most of them were ladies. For someone who survives in another choir as a “leaning tenor” (find a good one and stand next to him/her), this was a new experience. However, the friendliness of the existing members, the enthusiasm of Phoebe, and the fact that she had locked the door meant that I stayed. Not long afterwards our brilliant accompanist Alex started coming along regularly, meaning that Phoebe could devote herself to direction.
We gradually built up a small repertoire and ventured onto the road as the interval acts at a Church Barn Dance – it’s a good idea to pick on an audience which you expect won’t be too hostile – and they even applauded. We still have the cutting !
In Summer 2014, we did a charity gig appearing in our t-shirts for the first time alongside a similar choir and spent a lot of time making comparisons until someone said “I wonder what they are saying about us”. That was a sobering moment ! We also had a couple of Christmas concerts, including the Richmond Arms Godalming, which so far has been the first venue to ask us back, probably as we are also good customers, especially on our occasional highly competitive Darts Nights after Sunday rehearsals.
Last year (2015)was our best so far, new members, more songs, and progressive development of a jazz style, all without affecting the original friendly feel of the group, and a greater number of gigs. Can’t wait to see what 2016 is going to bring.