It’s never too late to join …

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Although the term has now started (and we had a wonderful first rehearsal in St John’s Church last night) there is still an opportunity to join in the fun!

There is a list of our rehearsal and performance dates on the Term Dates page and you are welcome to join us for any that you can make.
Rehearsals will always be in St John’s Church and the performance locations are specified.

If you haven’t done any singing for a while or, in fact, you are completely new to it, don’t be too disheartened if it takes you a while to get used to everything. Not only are you trying to discover your voice but you are doing it surrounded by other people … some of whom might be finding their voices too!

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about this and how you need to immerse yourself in singing as much as possible; it’s a marathon, not a sprint …
You can read more here.

The New Term …

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VOCA is back this week and rehearsals start on Thursday 8th September 2016 and run every week.
We are in our new home of St John’s Church from now on. The church can be found halfway down St John’s Street in Bury St Edmunds. Rehearsals start at 7pm and go through to 8:30pm.
There is no audition so just turn up and have a good sing!

The choir operate a simple £5 pay-as-you-sing fee. If you are therefore away for a few weeks, you haven’t got any choir subs to be paying out on …

We sing a wide range of music and welcome new singers at any time. Come and give us a go!

Happy Birthday to US!

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VOCA will be soon celebrate it’s first birthday!

We’ve already had an exciting 12 months with the choir performing at the popular Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market, a sell-out joint choir concert with Newmarket Community Choir, The Bardwell Babes and Descant Get Enough and even a brief performance in The Apex as part of the annual travel expo.

We have some wonderful performances planned for this coming term and into 2017 but we also have some very exciting news regarding a new rehearsal venue.

For the past 11 months we have been very fortunate with the support from Conservatoire East at West Suffolk College and they have always been able to find a room for our weekly rehearsals.
From a performance point-of-view, it is always useful to rehearse in slightly bigger spaces so that you can really feel that you can breathe and fill the room with sound.
From September 8th 2016, we will be having our weekly rehearsals in St. John’s Church in Bury St Edmunds; this is the Gothic church with the prominent spire that can be found half-way down St. John’s Street. Having performed in many of the buildings in Bury St Edmunds, it is safe to say that the acoustic in St John’s is a dream for a choir.

It is fantastic that this next chapter in the history of VOCA will start in such a wonderful location …

See you all there!

*VOCA will be meeting for a choir social at 7pm on Thursday 1st September in Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmunds. Choir members, plus ones and interested new choir members are more than welcome to join us!
**The first VOCA rehearsal at St John’s Church will be on Thursday 8th September at 7pm.

So, you’re thinking about joining a choir …

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Joining a choir can be such a rewarding experience. Every year, more and more studies showing the health benefits of singing are released and so it’s a brilliant idea to give it a go and see the positive effects first hand.

I can, however, fully understand your hesitation and/or anxiety behind singing in a group. Their is no other musical instrument that is as personal as one’s voice. It’s not like other instruments where, as you improve, you can go and buy a better / more expensive instrument and you will instantly hear an improvement in the sound. Your voice is given to you and yes, you really can work at it to make it the best instrument possible and make you feel comfortable for others to hear it.

The first part of this is really getting you used to the sound of your voice.

As adults, when we try and learn any new skill, the only way we can truly benefit is by fully immersing ourselves in it. New runners will go and buy a new set of trainers, a subscription to Runner’s World magazine, a fancy Garmin watch to track their runs and a new iPod to keep them motivated whilst they are out in the wind and cold. Someone wanting to learn French will start going to classes or MeetUp groups, listening to French radio stations or Podcasts, reading L’Equipe and will say “Bonjour” to anyone they know who has made it south of Calais … even if it was just for a booze cruise.

So, as singers, what can we do? The answer is easy; sing all of the time!

Now, I know that this isn’t always entirely practical and you don’t want to be singing the guitar solo to Bohemian Rhapsody whilst you and your colleagues are meant to be on a conference call with the New York office. However, there are plenty of opportunities to sing on your own every day; in the shower, in the car, when you’re cleaning the kitchen, humming to yourself when you’re out with the dog and/or even doing a Beyoncé-influenced “goodbye” signoff to your best friend on the phone.

As instruments go, it’s very portable and very accessible! You haven’t got to drag around a grand piano or double bass … it’s just there … ready to go.

Once you’ve found a local, friendly choir (Google is a great place to find them!) go and sing with the thought being that this is just “part of your singing routine”. It will be very daunting to join a group of people who already know the songs, each others’ names and some musical terminology but try to think of the long term goal. Unless you are a choral veteran, it may take 5 or 6 rehearsals to make you feel comfortable in that environment.
I’m certain that, without training, no one would attempt to put on a pair of running shoes and go and run a marathon or learn “Hello, my name is xxx” in French and then try and contact François Hollande for an informal chat.

It is therefore OK that, without training, the results won’t be perfect the first time around but, let’s face it, no one is perfect! Get out there and give it a go! The longer you can keep at it, the more rewarding it will be in the end … I guarantee it!


Happy New Year!

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VOCA would like to wish all our singers and supporters a very Happy New Year and we hope that you had a fantastic time over the holiday period.

We are back this week and our weekly rehearsals start again on Thursday 14th January 2016, 7pm in West Suffolk College (room E1.03).

If you fancy trying something new and have a new years’ resolution to join a choir, now is the perfect time to act and come along and try us out! We sing a range of music and cater for all abilities; there is no audition process so just turn up and have some fun!

We opperate a £5 pay-as-you-sing policy so, if you’re away for a few weeks, you don’t have to worry about paying termly / half-termly choir subs and missing sessions.

Hope to see you there …