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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley

An a-choir-ed taste

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Well I've only gone and done it!

Do you ever make a decision about something, take action, believing yourself to be brave enough and then the minute you have acted, hope your action isn't fruitful? 🙄

I have defied the fear gremlins that are running around in my head and the butterflies in my belly and signed up to apply to be in a TV documentary about the wonderful Gareth Malone's British Home Chorus. OMG!

Here's an insight to my inner dialogue aka head speak right now.

What the hell have I done? What will I do if they call and ask me to be in it? Will I say yes?

Oh they won't call anyway. I'm not good looking enough to be on TV and defo not interesting enough. I'm nearly 50 and perimenopausal you know!! The age where women become an invisible, hormonal mess, unless they are Jennifer Aniston of course!

Ah but what if they do call and ask me to sing? What would I sing, classical or pop? I didn't send a video of myself singing in the application. If I were too eager I might come across as a show off and that wouldn't do!

(Says the person who has made star shaped glasses covered in glitter for her I'm still standing video!🤔)

Oh stop it. They won't call me.

Now I'm thinking these glasses need more glitter🙃

So why do we do these things?

Occasionally I have a need to be noticed and I guess this is what is trying to surface right now. In what guise I do not know: teacher's pet, most nervous ever person on TV or first person to blush so red the cameraman is left with a permanent squint?

As a child I would sing my heart out to all kinds of music even putting on my own musical in the garden with all the animals joining in. I think I may have watched Sleeping Beauty too many times however what wasn't real was made up in my theatrical and colourful imagination.

Sometimes music terrified me. I remember being so afraid of Peter and the wolf that I asked my mother to turn it off.

I loved to sing in school choir's and variety shows although I never quite made it to a full blown solo or lead part. The chorus was where I would stay right through until adulthood and to be honest I was happy there.

Later on I was to be a part of my mother's church choir which brought me out of my shell, learning to enjoy the social part of being in a choir too. During this time I did get a solo part in a musical written by a church member. It had a stinker of a high note but I gave it my best and hope to this day not to have caused harm to anyone's hearing.

Music is a great mood changer. You've only to listen to movies to hear all the different ways the music makes you feel eg. Jaws.

My taste in music is varied and I used to use it to reflect my mood. I'd have metal/Rock or Depeche Mode for pissed off days, Kylie for some light-hearted pop and classical for stressful drives.

There were times when I wished I had the voice of Julie Andrews, Bonnie Tyler or Shania Twain, anything to get me noticed.

When the film Little Voice came out I swore it could've been me as my mimicking skills were good but I felt I had no style of my own. My voice is a good choir voice because it fits in. It's not shrill or velvety. With little vibrato, it's not quirky or noticeable just clear but it's mine and over the last couple of years I have been learning how to sing out and not keep my voice small like one of the Nuns in Sister Act who discovers she can sing out.

My thing is I don't like to sell myself. It's probably down to the way I was raised by my parents. I am polite and a tad shy, well until I get to know you then you can't stop me talking.

Loving music played a significant part in my recovery from times of chronic anxiety and depression. With music I could become someone else. I used music to soothe my mind and soul when in my darkest moments. The right style of music could mean the difference between another meal left uneaten and a few mouthfuls of nourishing food. It could determine whether I would make it through the day with strength and clarity or stay under the covers refusing to join life. Many tears were shed to beautiful music that soothed and quietened the fearful droning of my thoughts. Music could spur me on to exercise, walking miles in all weathers but with a lighter heart.

There is no doubt that music is powerful. It can unite, inspire and bring so much joy and happiness.

Now I am part of a small, local A Capella group in which I sing soprano. I love it. We have many moments where the sound we make is so wonderful I get goosebumps. We are all amateurs and enjoy getting together for a natter and a sing song. We sometimes sing at events to gain more experience and confidence in our abilities. The only thing I miss is having a conductor, someone to prompt us and bring energy and animation to what we do.

That's my current be more animated as I sing and not look so serious lol.

So whether I get a call from Twenty Twenty Tv or not I am glad I have become a part of this huge choir, even if it is only temporary. May it bring comfort and joy to many.

Thank you Decca Records, Twenty Twenty TV, Gareth Malone and everyone else who is a part of the Great British Home Chorus.

Stay safe, stay well


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