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 …


Can singing in a choir make me healthier?

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Whether you sing in the bath, with your children or on the football terraces, singing is fun. Thousands of us are joining choirs to give us more opportunities to get that sense of enjoyment.

But singing in a choir is more than just a bit of fun. It’s been scientifically proven that it is good for your health: from getting more oxygen into the blood, to increasing the flow of feelgood hormones and improving mental health.

So just how can singing in a choir be good for you?

Read the full BBC article here …

The First Choir Session (Woohoo!)

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We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be starting our rehearsals in West Suffolk College from Thursday 10th September.
More information can be found on our Events or Term Dates page.
If you have any questions at all, please do get in touch via the Contact page or through Facebook / Twitter.

We’ve already had some positive messages and can’t wait to get started! See you soon 🙂


Singing on prescription?

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First it was exercise on prescription, then it was arts on prescription, soon it could be singing on prescription, as the clinical evidence builds up, and as more and more projects promote the benefits of singing to health and wellbeing, both for those in generally good health and those with physical and mental health problems, or who find themselves socially excluded or isolated.

Grenville Hancox MBE, Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health based at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK believes that we are not too far away from having your local GP say: “Go and have a sing with that lot down the road” instead of “take these pills three times a day!”

The article goes on to explain about seven therapeutic outcomes from singing in a group; Communication, Cognition, Engagement, Confidence, Relationships, Empowerment and Exercise and stress reduction.

Read the full article here




A New Choir for Bury St Edmunds!

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We’re looking to set up a brand new choir in Bury St Edmunds!

To start with, we’re going to hold a social event in Oakes Barn on Thursday 23rd July as a bit of a “meet and greet” session where we can all have a drink, get to know each other and come up with some ideas for the new choir.

If you can’t make this session, don’t worry, we still want you!

Feel free to return to the site for future updates and/or find us on Facebook and Twitter 🙂

More info to follow soon … stay tuned …

Choirs are popular, sociable and a million miles from “Songs of Praise” stereotype …

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“Everyone can sing, it’s natural. Even when you’re speaking, you’re singing – your voice goes up and down. It’s just a question of learning technique. If you want to play a sport, you practise: you train your muscles to do the right thing. It’s the same with your voice.” says Laura Howe, 31, the musical director of Some Voices and a musician who composes for television.

We couldn’t agree more Laura … come and find your voice with us!

The full story can be found here …