Blackdown Community Choir is an enthusiastic group of singers who have been meeting for over eight years for fun and some performance, with new members joining all the time. This term the choir has grown so much we have moved to a new venue at the Baptist Centre. The choir draws people from Wellington and the surrounding area including the Blackdown Hills, Milverton, mid and East Devon.
The choir is very popular with 50-60 members, and generally runs close to full capacity but new spaces become available each term.Where and When?
Meets most Thursday evenings during term times at the Baptist Centre, South Street, Wellington, Somerset 7.30 – 9.15 pm.What?
The choir sings rousing songs in glorious unaccompanied harmony, for the sheer joy of singing! All kinds of songs from around the world are sung, as well as traditional songs from these shores – from folk to French, American to African, Georgian to gospel, pop to pavanes. The atmosphere is deliberately informal – people feel welcome and unpressurised.
Each session starts with a warm-up which includes non-strenuous physical and vocal activities and breathing activities, and then moving on to rounds & short songs. Longer or more complex songs are introduced gradually, building up the harmony parts until everyone is confident.History
The choir is now in its eleventh year! It was started in 2002 by Gabrielle Newman-Turner who initially ran it as an evening class – Successful Singing – at Court Fields School in Wellington. In recent years it has been run as an independent choir and enjoyed many successful performances and several CD recordings, under Gabbi’s leadership until her retirement in summer 2010.
Our musical director since September 2010 is Caroline Rigby who has been leading community choirs for over ten years. She founded and still runs Meeting Voices Community Choir in Chard, and leads a new daytime choir, Harmony 303 – Martock and Ash Community Choir, as well as performing occasionally with ‘Bosom Friends’ a women’s a cappella group.
Caroline starts from the belief that most people can sing with encouragement and practice so that choir sessions can be enjoyed both by those with little or no experience and also by those who already sing regularly. The choir is run using this Natural Voice approach: you do not need to be able to read music or have sung in choirs before, as all the songs are taught by ear. Words and some music (optional!) are provided for some songs. The Zimbabwean proverb ‘If you can talk you can sing’ underlies the approach.No auditions!
Yes, anyone can join if we have space: this means all are welcome whatever your background as long as you are over 16.Performance
As well as enjoying singing for fun each week there is a chance for everyone to take part in an informal concert for family and friends at the end of term to raise funds for Water Aid. Sometimes the choir is asked to sing at other events such as at Wellington Festival and may take part in regional community choir events at Bristol – but this is optional. Check out when our next performance is and come along and see us in action. Here are some of our past performances.
Why not come along to a taster workshop and gain confidence using your natural singing voice?