Midhurst Community Choir brings people together through song
Midhurst Community Choir was founded by mother and daughter Yvonne Gravely and Jess Brown-Fuller in 2017.
Yvonne has previously directed a number of Cabaret evenings for MADHURST and realised how much singing talent there was in Midhurst.
The choir started with 30 members, and now has more than 70 registered members, both men and women with an age range of late teens to ‘very young’ 80 somethings.
Yvonne said: “Singing is without doubt good for the soul and has been proved to be good for our mental health; being a member of a choir is so much more.
“It is not just about singing; it is about friendship, community spirit, fun and laughter, and brings with it a great sense of belonging to something special.
“New people moving to the area for example have found it to be a wonderful way of getting to know people.
“Great friendships have been created and members going through difficult times have found support even when we have not been able to be together.”
In 2018 Yvonne and Jess entered the choir category at Chichester Festival and were extremely proud to win the category and performed at the end of the festival show.
They went on to organise three sell out concerts, and entered the competition again in 2019, winning three awards for the choir, ensemble and individual soloist categories.
The choir’s activities were halted due to the pandemic.
Yvonne said: “We will be starting again in February 2022 rehearsing safely, with plenty of fresh air circulating, mask wearing when not singing, and members lateral flow testing before getting to rehearsal.
“Our purpose is to sing together and to bring enjoyment to the community; our priority though is to keep all our lovely members safe.”
The choir’s song list includes pop rock classics such as Don’t Stop Me Now, One Day Like This, or songs from the musicals including Les Miserables, The Greatest Showman, Lion King, West Side Story, or other pieces such as Adiemus sung in a ‘made up language’ and Ava Maria and O Fortuna which are in Latin.
Yvonne said: "Anyone over the age of 16 is very welcome. If anyone is thinking about it, just come for a no pressure, no questions asked taster session. Nobody has to audition; you don’t need previous experience or to read music; you just need to have a desire to sing with other people. And have fun. We will teach you the rest.
"Something else which is important to talk about is men. This is a problem for a lot of choirs - the lack of them I mean. We think one of the reasons men are reluctant to join is that they may feel lonely or nervous coming to sing with a lot of women. Let me reassure them that our current group of men are the loveliest, naughtiest, most disruptive group of men we know - and we love them. I promise we will welcome you with open arms.
"Jess and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tracey our pianist and everyone involved behind the scenes - no organisation can function without the unsung heroes and this includes Jan our secretary, Dennis our treasurer, Clare who looks after our website, and others such as Patricia, Dave, Chaz and Megan who come to rehearsal early every week to help set up, cleaning chairs, putting out equipment and so on. Thank you."
The choir meets on Wednesday evenings from 7.30pm at the Midhurst Methodist Church Hall.
Membership costs £40 per term (based on the school year) and includes all music. Discounts are offered for couples and anyone struggling financially or on benefits.
For more information or to look at attending a taster session, email [email protected]