It’s the season to join a community choir - memberships thrive in Camden and Haringey
Community choirs were busy providing the soundtrack to many festive gatherings this year, but for singers in Camden and Haringey it’s clear that choir-going is a way of life.
Gospel Oak School’s Community Choir, which comprises about 30 parents from Gospel Oak Primary School, in Mansfield Road, first joined forces in 2012 when mum Mina Hosokawa, 45, saw the fun her children were having preparing for their Christmas concert and thought the parents could have just as much fun all year round.
Gui Tavares, who has been delighted with the way the choir has progressed since he took over the role of musical director last year, said: “They’ve risen to a new level. This year, we’ll be recording in a studio, and creating yet more fun for the mums and dads and their families.
“It’s a great community group for the school.”
More than 120 people flocked to see Primrose Hill Community Choir perform sacred and secular Christmas favourites at St Mary’s Church in Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, last month.
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Musical director and conductor Matthew Watts, a former University College School pupil, first noticed a “gap in the market” for a choir in Primrose Hill and was surprised to see 70 people ranging from 25 to 80 year-olds at the first meeting at the Primrose Hill Community Centre.
Mr Watts, a Chalk Farm resident, said: “It really brings together members of the community from all different walks of life who make new friends through the choir.”
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It has steadily grown in numbers in recent years and members knew they had “arrived as a choir” when they got the chance to perform at a choral festival at the Southbank Centre, in Lambeth.
The Highgate Choral Society enjoyed a busy December culminating in a packed concert at St Michael’s Church, South Grove, Highgate.
The society, founded in 1875 by a group of amateur musicians, is one of the oldest established choirs in London and has grown to more than 200 members.
Hilary Henderson, membership secretary, who lives in Dartmouth Park, said: “I think community choirs are more important than ever, they are thriving and it keeps us very busy.
“It’s a very important component of my life, it’s thoroughly enjoyable.”
The choir has a healthy social scene alongside the busy performance calendar and even boasts a handful of couples who have found love through singing.
The 30-strong Fleet Singers Community Choir have been rehearsing at Gospel Oak Methodist Church, Agincourt Road, Gospel Oak, since forming in 2007.
They had a packed festive schedule including a Christmas sing-along and a performance of Orff’s dramatic choral masterpiece Carmina Burana.
The tight-knit group, described by singer Pam Gilby as “a really lovely choir”, is excited about launching a new arrangement this year celebrating the life of poet John Betjeman, who spent his early years in Hampstead and was christened at St Anne’s Church in Highgate West Hill, Highgate.