We are Barnsley Singers, a 250+ strong voluntary led community choir based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. We formed in October 2016 following huge demand for an adult choir run by the choirs’ Principal Founders Mat Wright and Luke Mather.
We are a voluntary led not-for-profit community choir based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire who meet once a week to sing together. Our choir brings together people from all walks of life and backgrounds; our members come from varying levels of singing and musical ability. Our members’ age range is 18 to 80 and there is no audition required to join the choir – the only commitment that we ask our members to bring each week is a sense of fun, humour and enthusiasm to our Tuesday evening rehearsals.
We regularly have 150 – 200 members attending our Tuesday rehearsals. We have an open membership policy where members do not have to audition to join. We have excellent artistic and musical directors but we are keen to be able to develop the skills and experiences of our members by exposing them to other choirs and choral directors.
The choir have learned so many new skills and singing techniques and benefitted from learning new pieces sang in different styles, languages and tempos. Through the support and encouragement of the Directors and the Volunteer Team, the choir continues to grow in confidence and is keen to learn and expand its unique sound and blend through regular rehearsals, ongoing participation in performances and weekend workshops conducted by the very best choral leaders.
Within 6 weeks of forming the choir we had already taken part in our first Christmas concert, which was held in front of a sell-out audience in the local community. We learned 4 music pieces and sang in 5 different vocal ranges, creating harmonies and solo parts. We held our second concert in May 2017 which again was a sell out concert to 400 people. We are delighted that our choir is reaching out to so many members of the local community in Barnsley.
In our vocal ensemble we are constantly learning. These skills extend to discipline, listening skills, vocal tuning, compassion, empathy, languages and history. This is certainly the case for our choir who have already learned and performed songs in Hebrew, and Latin as we are currently getting to grips with the masterpiece that is The Armed Man by the Welsh composer Karl Jenkins.
Our Volunteer Team meets regularly to ensure the smooth running of the choir behind the scenes. The Team is made up of around 20 volunteers which incorporates key roles such as Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer to ensure that all matters are dealt with such as membership, finances, events management, publicity, future events, to name a few.
Our past and current members testify to the overwhelmingly positive impact being a member of the choir has had on their lives overall. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time since we formed and we are looking forward to what the future of Barnsley Singers will bring for the community of Barnsley and beyond.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
The funding if secured would allow us to participate in a joint choral workshop and possibly a joint performance with a visiting choir from elsewhere in Great Britain. We are keen to engage with other choral groups who have a broader experience base than us to allow us to develop new skills and techniques. However we are unable to secure another choirs’ commitment until we are clear we have successfully raised sufficient funding to cover costs of this. We are looking at choirs such as the Farnham Youth Choir who have been named twice as UK Choir of the Year.
The workshop would be to focus, establish and develop the relationship between our choir and the visiting choir, and hopefully result in further collaborations in future. It would also facilitate developing a wider sense of community pride within Barnsley Singers and beyond our home town. We want to inspire and give confidence to our members by giving them the opportunity to learn and perform alongside choirs who do so at the highest level.
Our vocal skills development will be facilitated through this workshop, with joint learning outcomes which would be delivered by the Artistic and Musical Directors of both choirs. We would share material prior to the visit to ensure both choirs were able to prepare in advance and maximise the outcomes on the day.
We estimate 120 of our members would attend the workshop and they would benefit from developing their singing techniques by learning from a world class choir. There are clear social benefits to participation in choral music as a group and this can assist in improving health and wellbeing and tackling loneliness and isolation, particularly for some of our elder members. Members continually report back to us the absolute joy they experience from participating in our weekly sessions. We hope that the workshop will allow our members to walk away renewed and refreshed, from having had the opportunity to participate in something greater than the sum of its parts.
The funding from your organisation along with additional funding we would raise through other sponsorship/fund raising activities would assist towards approximate costs relating to:
• Expenses of the visiting Choral Director/s (£500 - £750)
• Travel costs for the visiting choir (£500 - £750)
• Photocopying and advertising the workshop (£100)
• Rehearsal venue and potential performance venue (£350 - £500)
• Any other related costs (refreshments, equipment hire etc) (£300 - £400)
We anticipate an overall running cost in the region of £2000 - £2500, to which we would raise £1500 - £2000 through independent sponsorship and fundraising activities.
Intended Outputs of the Workshop
• 220 – 250 individuals attending the workshop from both choirs
• 300 – 400 individuals attending performance (audience)
Intended Outcomes of the Workshop
• Participants reporting improved skill levels
• Participants reporting positive impact on wellbeing as a result of attendance at workshop and performance in front of an audience
• Continued commitment from participants to future attendance at weekly rehearsals
• Strengthening the bonds between us and visiting choirs from around the country
"Quotes from our members:
“It’s not just about singing, it is a lot of fun too and brightened up my dark winter evenings.” (Indu)
“I'm in my 60's and have not sang since I was in the school choir, a long time ago. Great that I'm able to sing now, so much enjoyment...and a wonderful atmosphere when we are together.” (Lynda)
“To be part of a wonderful group of people, who share the passion and sheer joy of singing together is a totally uplifting experience. Barnsley Singers defines the meaning of community for me. I can’t imagine life without them now.”
“I am a recent retiree, being in the choir is a real blessing to me. Look forward to Tuesday's every week” (Tom)"