A community choir that has been helping people find their voices for over a decade are inviting new members to join them as they continue their rehearsals online in lockdown.
Pocklington Arts Centre’s Forgotten Voices Community Choir formed 10 years ago with the aim of helping people rediscover the joys of singing in a friendly, sociable setting under the directorship of the talented Sam Dunkley.
The group usually meet at PAC every Tuesday evening, 7-9pm where they rehearse songs from a wide range of genres including pop, folk, classical, and musical theatre.
But the pandemic has forced them to move their rehearsals online, and while members say they miss their face-to-face sessions, their online rehearsals are proving to be morale boosting and are helping to combat social isolation at this time.
Retired teacher Jane Smith, of Pocklington joined Forgotten Voices at the very start, spurred on by there being no audition and wanting to find a way to “switch off for a couple of hours”.
Despite missing performing in person and socialising with everyone, Jane says the online rehearsals have been great for her mental wellbeing.
Jane said: “Over the years I have made good friends through the choir. I have learnt a lot from Sam and he always manages to make us laugh. I love it when we’ve worked on a song, and then all the parts come together.
“It is so uplifting to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I love it when we can perform for and with other people, whether it’s at a summer fair, a wedding, on stage at the Arts Centre or around the country as part of the National Street Choirs Festival. It’s an absolute joy!
“I miss being able to hear everybody else’s voices, being in the same room, with all the parts resounding around us. I miss being able to socialise, have a chat and a cup of tea. I miss having a performance to work towards, and performing. On the other hand, it’s been very good for morale, to see friends virtually every week, have a little chat and a laugh, as well as singing some old favourites and learning some new songs.”
“I think it’s been good for our mental health, at a time when so many of us are isolated from each other,” she added.
Retired teacher Pamela Quarmby, of Stamford Bridge, joined Forgotten Voices 10 years ago for her love of singing and says she enjoys being a part of the choir, especially being able to sing alto parts and meeting other members.
And while Pamela said she misses seeing the friends she has made, and hearing each other sing, she would encourage others to “Come and join us – we are like a family.”
PAC’s Forgotten Voices Community Choir currently meet online every Tuesday 7pm-8pm. No audition necessary.
To find out more & go along to one of their rehearsals contact Sam Dunkley at firstname.lastname@example.org or send them a message via their Facebook page @ForgottenVoicesCommunityChoir