The Grand Union Community Choir is returning to in-person rehearsals from September 2021!
About the Choir
Established in April 2009 and based in Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, the Grand Union Community Choir is a non-audition, all embracing choir in which any adult who wants to sing is welcomed and valued. Singers do not have to be able to read music or have any prior musical experience. We work as a supportive team, developing musical skills, whilst having fun as we learn and challenge ourselves.
We sing a mixed repertoire including world music, music theatre, folk, popular and contemporary classical. We enjoy sharing performance platforms with ABC Big Band, Heath Band, Luton Concert Orchestra and Leighton-Linslade Gala Orchestra, raising money for local and national charities, as well as singing on our own. Participation in performances is optional. Our key aims are for people to find their voices, feel good, meet new friends, laugh, learn and sing. Worrying is not allowed!
Being able to sing and perform together allows us to make memories, share our love of singing with others and raise money for charity. This was originally achieved by physical rehearsals and concerts but 2020/21 saw us achieving this in the virtual world too.
Not being able to meet in person between March 2020 and July 2021 was hard but we all used the time positively to learn new technical skills. Singing on-line certainly presented us all with challenges but also new opportunities which benefitted us then and now.
As of Sept 2021 Grand Union Community Choir singers now have the advantage of ‘hybrid membership’ allowing them the benefits of being able to sing and perform in-person or virtually as best suits their needs on a weekly basis.
In-person rehearsals take place at Southcott Lower School with on-line singers joining in virtually via Zoom.
The choir is directed by Susan Cox an experienced vocal leader, teacher and music director who enjoys working with singers of all ages. Accompaniment is provided by John Wearmouth, a gifted organist, pianist and choir director in his own right.
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The Benefits of Online Singing
Virtual rehearsals will never be the same as ‘in-person’ rehearsals but they can provide a way for us to sing together and sustain our choral community in lieu of physical connection.
The benefits of virtual rehearsals for the singers are:
- The opportunity to focus on individual progress and self-evaluation
- Everyone can see and hear the Music Director
- Singers can focus on vocal modelling demonstrated by the Music Director
- The rehearsals run efficiently and without interruption
- Everyone gets the chance to participate
- People learn each other’s names and make new connections with people within the group
- Singers can focus on their visual presence
- Singers can sing freely
- Singers are able to show their personalities more easily
Being able to perform together allows us to make memories, show our skills, share our love of singing with others and raise money for charity. This was historically achieved by physical concerts but was also achieved virtually in 2020 by those who took part in the 2.6 Challenge ‘Singing as One’ for Parkinson’s UK, our annual Christmas Brass and Voices concert with The Heath Band and our Christmas Carol Marathon. The 2.6 Challenge and the Christmas Carol Marathon brought singers from four different groups together, something which would not have been contemplated or considered before the Covid-19 Pandemic and in December we celebrated a new ‘concert first’ with The Heath Band when we jointly presented our first Online Christmas Concert.
Moving forward we shall have to accept that, for a while, ‘rehearsals’ will be different but that we can still sing and gain the benefits of singing.