HUSBAND and wife singing team Ian and Chel Revens have been running the Community Choir for the past four years in Borehamwood and based on their success, mayor Dorothy Thornhill asked them to start a similar venture for Watford. Chel and Ian received a start-up grant from the Mayor’s Community Fund to set up The One Voice Watford Community Choir and over the past three weeks they’ve been running taster workshops at Clarendon Muse to get people involved.
The first session took place on a very wet night last month and I was amazed to find more than 15 people in attendance at the Rickmansworth Road venue on such an inauspicious evening.
The workshop began by each person in turn explaining his or her reasons for coming along. Most people, like me, enjoyed singing but had not been part of a choir for a number of years.
After all the introductions, Chel outlined the reasons for setting up the choir.
She says: “We want to bring people together from any nationality or cultural heritage, to learn from each other and enhance understanding.
“People of all faiths or of no faith are welcome. All our songs are carefully selected for their positive, universal messages without being attached to any specific religion.”
The workshop proper began with some limbering up to loosen our muscles. Then Ian took us through a series of vocal exercises for us to control our breathing and use it to full effect while singing.
Chel has developed an informal teaching style to encourage confidence.
“Most people without previous singing experience or musical knowledge are not eligible to join traditional choirs,” says Chel. “People who are keen to sing for pleasure will be able to join One Voice without auditions or the need to read music. Members can also self-select which voice group most suits their singing range.”
To demonstrate, Chel then asked us to choose which group we were comfortable with, from the sopranos to bass – most of us were happy with the middle range.
Mid-way through our first number, we were joined by Dorothy Thornhill, who confessed to singing mainly in the bath. She was happy to see so many in attendance and joined us for The Circle of Life.
By the end, I felt I had given my voice a bit of a workout and was in need of a good drink of water. It was much easier to sing along in such a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere and I felt the exercises had dome some good.
The final taster session will take place at Clarendon Muse on Thursday, June 19 at 8pm. Weekly rehearsals are from Thursday, July 3 and will run from 7.15pm to 9.15pm.
Details: Chel Revens, musical director on 01442 400535, email@example.com