Dales Community Pop and Show Choir
Lively and fun community pop and show choir, for all abilities from teen to centenary.
Our choir brings together people from local communities, for a fun and lively session of singing. We are quite a new choir and meet once a week at the Old School House in Leyburn. Although we have only been running since September 2015, in this short time we have achieved a lot. We relocated to Leyburn in January, which is a more central location, to attract new members and accommodate others who had expressed a keen interest to attend. As well as Leyburn itself, we have members from the surrounding villages of Bedale, Catterick, Reeth and the length of Wensleydale. We attract members from a variety of ages, and our current membership ranges from 13 to 80. We sing an array of popular music, and show songs such as Hey Jude by the Beatles, Everyone’s Changing by Keane and Hold back the River by James Bay, splitting into usually 3 and sometimes (when we are feeling brave) 4 parts.
The group is led by Debbie, an experienced community musician and voice coach, who is supported by a fantastic team of volunteers, including Paul our accompanist, who in addition to his skills on the keyboard and guitar, brings his dry wit and humour. The committee are all volunteers made up of members from the choir. We enjoy supporting community events and have already given a number of performances. Our first performance was at a Christmas craft fair in Redmire, where we were initially based. We have since performed at Carperby open gardens, and the Wensleydale Tournament of Song, where we received an award for outstanding choral performance. It’s wonderful to see the choir’s confidence grow with each performance and this also strengthens the camaraderie we feel as members of this group.
We feel passionately, that the group should be as accessible to as many people as possible. Some of our members travel from isolated rural communities, with the choir being one of the few social outings of their week. There are many different ways people benefit from attending, some come along to unwind after a long day at work or school, others to help them through difficult times such as bereavement and others to simply recapture something they enjoyed in their youth. We support the local community by singing at events, adding an extra element, which brings a few more people along. Our group also supports The Old School House, which is a community space run by volunteers, by paying for and using their facilities.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
This funding would allow us to promote our group, to attract a wider and more diverse membership. We would particularly like to attract more teenagers, and reach people from within the communities, who may not yet be aware of us. Buying music and complying with copyright laws, is a huge cost to our group. This funding would allow us buy more music, and increase the variety of songs within our repertoire. A good variety of music is essential if we want to keep our existing membership, and attract new ones. We have a number of performances planned over the next 12 months, and we would like to use some of the money to buy music folders and clothing, to give the group a collective identity and a feeling of belonging. We have found that performing within the community is one of the most effective ways to promote our choir.
The more members we have, the more viable we are as a choir. We want to keep membership costs to a minimum, and by having a greater membership, weekly subs should generate a surplus which can be ploughed back into music costs and performances. This will make the group more sustainable in the long term.
""Thank you for running the choir its an hour of total joy in my week I love coming along. It would be great to have more members and try lots more new songs."
Catherine Monaghan, Choir Member"