New singers are always very welcome to any Retford Community Singers rehearsal on Tuesday evening, from 7.30pm to 9.15pm, in term time. They meet at St Joseph’s Church Hall, Babworth Road, Retford DN22 7PB with free parking around the church. The cost is £4.00 per session (£2.00 if on means tested benefits). Go along and give it a try — they are a large friendly group of men and women of all ages who come together to sing just for pleasure. They are proud to have Janet Wood as their leader who inspires, challenges, makes them laugh and manages to produce amazing sounds each week.
They are called a community choir for several reasons:
- They are open to anyone regardless of previous experience — even if you’ve been told to keep quiet in the past. There are no auditions or solo singing and no requirement to read music.
- Their aim is to sing for the love of it each week rather than rehearsing for performances, but they also offer the option to sing out in the community from time to time. This can be joining with other singers for occasional singing days, carol singing sessions, or singing at special events. They also try to support local shops and facilities and they publicise any kind of concert or music in the area.
- Finally, they are part of a huge community of people everywhere who love singing. It’s a powerful feeling to be united in harmony with others despite seeming deeply divided sometimes. Their wide repertoire includes anything with a good harmony, songs from many places and traditions as well as folk, gospel, pop songs and much else.
It was a busy time at the choir in the weeks up to Christmas, with the chance to get involved with a unique community celebration. Some 25 singers chose to sign up for the performance in Retford Town Hall to portray the Mayflower story, along with dancers from two local schools and professional performers from the Imagination Museum company. They worked hard to learn complex rhythms and unfamiliar evocative melodies reflecting the anguish of the Pilgrims’ voyage into the unknown. In the final song the performers felt a real connection across 400 years when they sang the Pilgrim leader’s words on arrival in America to ‘grow freedom in meadows and build a country with our hands’. It was brilliant to share this performance with the children who should be proud of their delightful contribution to the story too.
Further information about the choir can be found at www.retfordcommunitysingers.co.uk or 01777 704038 or 01777 704154.