Wigan choir leader urges residents to discover joy of singing

Kathryn Davies, who runs the town's Rock Choir, is taking part in a number of online lockdown events this month.
Kathryn Davies, director of Rock Choir WiganKathryn Davies, director of Rock Choir Wigan
Kathryn Davies, director of Rock Choir Wigan

Kathryn led a streamed broadcast as part of the national Rock Choir organisation’s campaign Keep Britain Singing which is still available to watch.

She is then running a project to bring young singers together during the half-term holiday in February.

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Kathryn has also been leading the borough’s Rock Choir through online rehearsals as musical ensembles are currently barred from getting together to practice under Covid-19 regulations.

Rock Choir in full voiceRock Choir in full voice
Rock Choir in full voice

She is keen to spread the word about the benefits of singing as part of a group at a time when lockdown means many people are spending a lot of time at home and not being able to socialise.

Rock Choir is doing its bit to provide virtual opportunities for singers of all ages to continue their hobby or take it up for the first time as the country carries on battling the novel coronavirus.

Kathryn started the month on February 3 with a free two-hour workshop for young people raising awareness of singing to coincide with Children’s Mental Health Week.

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She then led the nation in a lunchtime performance of Mr Blue Sky on February 5 as part of Keep Britain Singing.

The event lasted around 15 minutes and is still available if anyone wants to have a go at home on the organisation’s YouTube channel.

Rock Choir leaders across the country are appearing daily on the channel for communal mass music-making.

Kathryn said: “When we went into the first lockdown last year we said we would go live online at 3pm each day.

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“We then wanted to bring it back for other lockdowns so we’re going live at noon every day.

“It’s just a moment for people to take a breath in the day and have a singalong. I take them through a warm-up to get them relaxed and then bring the lyrics up.

“Mr Blue Sky is a brilliant song and has been a firm favourite in our repertoire for about eight years now.

“It’s also available to watch afterwards for people who are in roles like the NHS or teachers and can’t join in live.”

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Kathryn is then running Rock Choir Rock Stars for three days as part of the February schools break.

Two choirs, one made up of youngsters aged between six and 11 and one for 12-to-16-year-olds, will learn the song True Colours as performed by Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick in the film Trolls.

There will be workshops on Zoom and then a final recorded version of the song will be made.

Kathryn says being in a choir can have huge benefits for young people, especially when many cannot go to school due to Covid-19.

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She said: “Kids are not getting that communication with friends and not getting to see each other.

“The amazing thing about music is how it can bring us together, no matter where we are. When kids come into something like this they are often a little bit nervous but then they see everyone enjoying it and the love they get from singing.

“We will do fun warm-ups and then I will teach them some techniques, although without stressing them out too much.

“We will have 50 minutes of fun where they can forget about everything else and share music with lots of other people.”

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The youngsters will receive tutorial videos to sing along to at home and will also be asked to record themselves singing.

All the tracks will then be put together to create the final choir recordings of True Colours.

As well as the February events Kathryn has also been leading Rock Choir Wigan online and is full of praise for how the ensemble has coped with the challenges of coronavirus.

She said: “They are such a lovely group of people. We’ve kept the weekly sessions going and if they can’t make it on a Tuesday they can drop in on other North West Rock Choirs.

“What everyone really misses is coming together.

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“For some people Zoom has been a real game changer in helping them through their situation, particularly if they live on their own.

“It still feels the same and I give the same energy I would if we were in a room.

“We’re going to be ready for a concert when we come out of this.”

Rock Choir Rock Stars runs from February 17 to 19.

Find out more or book a place by visiting https://rockchoirrockstars.com/

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