Page 11 - Rooftops Summer 2019
P. 11

                   Illustration: Sherry Tolputt
We will rock you
. . . and sing some nice harmonies too
Kim Smith admits her singing voice is so flat, pancakes have threatened to sue. But that didn’t stop her being welcomed into Sudbury’s most poptastic choir
The popularity of reality TV shows like X Factor give the impression that singing should be confined to the young and spray-tanned.
However, one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the past two decades belies that myth... the growth of community choirs.
If proof were needed of how they have captured the zeitgeist, just look at the big and small screens and in bookshops. Fisherman’s Friends, the
story of Cornwall’s tunesmith trawlermen, has just been turned into a movie; Fay Ripley’s character in ITV drama Cold Feet joined a group of cancer-struck chanteuses to cope with her own diagnosis; and Gill Hornby’s 2015 novel, All Together Now, imagined a choir repairing fractures in a collapsing community.
The saintly Gareth Malone, OBE, is often credited with starting the revival, but the true architect of the movement was music teacher Caroline Redman
Lusher, who predated his first TV show by two years. Back in 2005, Caroline placed an advertisement in a Surrey coffee shop asking for members of the public to join a fledgling choir who did not need to read music, audition, nor have any previous experience. She was overwhelmed when 70 people responded.
Calling the group Rock Choir because its programme was taken from the pop charts, the idea snowballed. There are now 380 branches across the ‘

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