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What a turnout for a sultry August afternoon in Beeston! So wonderful to see a room full of people enjoying their own voices and the experience of singing together. I hadn’t been to an Everyone Can Sing workshop before, so didn’t quite know what to expect. Well, now I do! It is welcoming, friendly, inclusive and fun and I think everyone at the workshop would agree that the singing was actually very good. You could see people were really pleased with the results.

My own experience of singing has been almost exclusively with choirs – although I was part of a very funky gospel praise group once. The word ‘choir’ can be quite scary for people who don’t judge themselves to have a great voice and who maybe don’t read music. The notion of community choirs is now very common, but you still have to ‘join’ and ‘commit’ which is not what everyone wants. Of course, for choirs which regularly perform in concerts or festivals etc, the commitment is essential – otherwise the musical director can’t prepare the singers and the songs with consistency.

So Everyone Can Sing seems to me to bridge a gap and offer an opportunity to just sing in a very informal setting and enjoy yourself. I normally sing alto, but at this workshop, I threw caution to the winds and sang the tune, or whatever approximation I could manage. And we didn’t have to read any music either.

The atmosphere was great and although you could sense a bit of anxiety at the start from newbies about what they would be expected to do, we quickly settled into a joyful giggle by singing the Ping Pong Ball song and groaning as it got more complicated each round! (There’s nothing like a bit of groaning to bond a group together!) And the choice of songs was just right; The Ronnettes, the Turtles, the Monkees and Abba. When my daughter saw the programme, she said ‘It looks like Smooth Radio but older!’ Well, that’s OK by me, dear! I guess a lot of us knew most of the words, so we could let ourselves go a bit and jig around or sing with spoon microphones! I did a bit more than others – going into full disco mode occasionally – but my fellow singers didn’t seem to mind; or maybe they are just very polite in Beeston.

But didn’t we do well with ‘Yesterday’? It sounded great with the harmony and was a real contrast to the other bouncy songs. All singing is performance, whether it is for you or for others, so enjoy the therapeutic benefits!

We were well led by Simon and the musicians and the £5 fee was worth it just for the chance to sing with a band. All rock stars for the day!

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And we got cake! Enough said

I will certainly go again, if I can and if I’m not blacklisted for dodgy dancing. So I hope to see you all again with more ‘music to smile about’