Why you should join a choir

14 Jul|Tom Hodgkinson

Tom Hodgkinson makes merry

The last few weeks have been a particularly depressing time in English history. Half the time I have been wandering around in a dark dudgeon. Grenfell, Trump, Brexit, Uber – you just feel so powerless in the face of these nightmares.

Thank God then for Monday nights and Idler Choir practice. However angry and grumpy you are when you arrive, you will be certain to leave on a high, singing lustily as you walk down the street.

There is something life-affirming and spirit-lifting about singing in harmony in a group. It is not about solo performances, showing off and egos. Sometimes you will be told to sing more quietly, for example, because it’s not the tenors but the sopranos who are carrying the tune. The magical harmonies that are created make you feel like a 14th-century monk.

For all this fun we have to thank the brilliant tuition of our choir master, Tom Williams. Tom is Choral Director for the Choir at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and is a specialist in early music, in particular the polyphonic music of the Tudor period, accruing to his impressive CV. We Idler Choir members feel very lucky indeed to have Tom (and his assistants) as our master and guide.

There are currently around twenty of us and I am hoping to swell the numbers next term. Do come and join us. And by the way, you absolutely do not need any prior musical knowledge or singing ability. You will be put into the right vocal category for your voice – whether bass, tenor, soprano or alto – and off you go.

This term we’ve been learning a cowboy song called “Lonesome Road”, plus “Only You” by Yazoo, “Barbara-Ann”, “Stand By Me” and a lovely tune called “The Wind’s Direction” by choir member Louisa Young. You can come and hear the results of our work next Monday at The Mason’s Arms in west London, where we’ll be performing a concert alongside Danny Wootton’s ukulele class. Book now – it’s free.