Page 12 - Rooftops Summer 2019
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                  ‘ country and around 25,000 members of all ages and backgrounds. The one thing they have in common is their sheer, unadulterated enjoyment of making music without the requirement to perform vocal gymnastics to rival anything Olga Korbut could do on a mat.
“Rock Choir is much more than a choir – it's a multi-layered experience,” says Caroline. “The power of music, meeting new friends and performing together at events, contributes to an emotional and powerful journey for our members. I personally choose and train our brilliant team of musicians, teachers and performers who lead their choir in each community through the most uplifting and feelgood songs ever written."
Adam Abo Henriksen, 28, is the Rock Choir leader for Sudbury and four Essex branches. A grade eight pianist and singer with a background in classical and musical theatre, he was happy to let me attend a taster session. I did warn him in advance that my voice is so flat that pancakes have threatened to sue and that when I give my lungs an airing, deaf people refuse to lip read! Surprisingly, this did not put him off. So, equipped with earplugs for the poor souls standing next to me, I went to The Quay Theatre for one of his regular Wednesday morning rehearsals.
The room was packed with 70 people all buzzing with excitement not only as they were about to learn a new number, but because they had been told that a concert staged a few days before at
nearby St Peter’s Church had raised more than £3,000 for local charity The Bridge Project. It is one of many shows, big and small, that Rock Choir have given, with venues ranging from a care home to The Apex in Bury St Edmunds and even London’s Hyde Park for the BBC’s Proms in the Park.
Self-congratulations out of the way, it was onto the business in hand, trying the Cranberries’ multiple key changing hit Dreams for size. Adam was Mr Charisma as he gently but firmly cajoled us into delivering (unlike Eric Morecambe) the right notes, very necessarily in the right order. He reminded me of a gospel preacher instructing an enraptured flock and, pretty soon, I too was among the converted.
The benefits of participating in community singing are myriad and have even led to a research paper being written by an Oxford academic. Dr Jacques Launay concluded that it creates a strong sense of well being by exercising the brain as well as the body;
it is effective in pain relief as it releases neurochemicals, and sustains a healthy immune system by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. It also forges bonds of friendship very rapidly, particularly valuable in an age when social interaction is often practised remotely via Facebook, etc.
Back to Adam, he believes that Rock Choir is a forum for everyman and woman because, to an extent, all of us can sing. “People tune into the sound produced by the person next to them,” he maintains “It’s all about the blend of voices and the shared experience.”
I’m not sure if my pathetic caterwauling quite achieved that, but I left with a huge smile on my face and, I must say, feeling like I’d had a workout. Burning calories while you warble, now that really would be a diet regime of note.
n For details of your local Rock Choir branch, go to www.rockchoir.com. The first session is free and if you decide to join, membership costs £25 a month, payable by direct debit.
Above: Hello Wembley! Rock Choir members from all over the country come together for arena shows. Right: The Sudbury Rock Choir
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