October 2018

Extraordinary (adjective)

  1. Unusual, special, unexpected, remarkable

Words are sometimes overused, but I feel justified to say that the first six weeks of the Great Yokrshire Chorus has been nothing short of extraordinary. This week we are on a break for half term, allowing me chance to catch my breath and reflect on the beginning of our very special journey.  In a few short weeks, over 110 people have joined us as choir members and GYC has gone from being a figment of imagination to a strong and budding chorus of singers. We have people of all ages, some with no experience, some very experienced and everything in between. We have gathered a group of fantastic people with a shared passion for singing, taking on a new challenge and being part of something bigger than themselves. We’ve made new friends, worked on our vocal technique, learnt songs together and had a lot of fun in the process at our Tuesday night rehearsals. There have been drinks at the pub after choir, photoshoots of us in our bright coloured choir tshirts and our first BBC Radio interview.

It’s nice to have time to step back and think about these past weeks. Our exciting start has in truth been quite a whirlwind for me, and at times it has been a challenge to keep up with the momentum the choir has gained. I have to say that I am feeling incredibly lucky and amazed at where we have got to in such a short time. GYC was in the planning phase when I was on maternity leave last year. I was excited about the vision we had for it, but imagined it would take us a little while to get people involved, as is usually the case. There is also a little bit of anxiousness with any new project as to whether anyone will actually turn up! I never dreamed that we would be able to make such a big positive start to the choir, it is truly fantastic and I believe will open some exciting opportunities for us sooner rather than later.

Many things have been exciting about our first few weeks. For me the biggest highlights centre around the very real and human impact of singing that I can see on the choir members. At our first rehearsal there was a palpable nervousness in the room, as everyone was trying something new and didn’t know each. This has very quickly been replaced with a new camaraderie and sense of community which is lovely to watch.. A few choir members have personally shared with me the positive impact the choir is having on them – stress busting, confidence building, needed ‘me time’ for busy parents. I am so glad that they are having a positive experience. And of course, the music! I am amazed by what this large diverse group of singers has achieved so far. We have gone from being a collection of disparate singers to learning to function and express ourselves as one, which is no mean feat. The musical improvement week to week has been fantastic, but also a steep climb, for which I give all the members huge credit.

As a choir we have five values, which were carefully chosen. We seek to be creative, fun, social, inclusive and excellent. I feel that even amongst the busyness of our first weeks we have tried hard to live them out in what we’re doing, managing with at least some success!  These values are the heart of who we are as a choir and we’ll always do our best to keep them central. And so we look forward to our debut performance later this week on 26th October at Lister Lantern parade. We’ll be performing songs we’ve worked on in the last few weeks and we can’t wait to get out there and sing. Whether you are a choir member or someone who is cheering us on – a huge thank you from me for your support in making the vision a reality. The Great Yorkshire Chorus is well and truly out of the starting blocks and there is so much more to come. So here’s to the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the rest!