Why join Epworth choir?
We are now rehearsing weekly face to face again but thanks to the pandemic, we are also now streaming our weekly rehearsals on Zoom so that you can join in from wherever you are if you prefer. There are lots of reasons why people choose to join Epworth Choir, including:
- A complete escape from daily life once a week; it’s very hard to think about anything else when you get really engrossed in learning and singing new music
- The satisfaction of learning something new; as well as the music itself, our music professionals are constantly sharing tips and tricks to help us get the most out of our singing
- You can join from anywhere in the world on Zoom if you like
- If you’re not sure whether singing in a choir is for you or whether your music reading is good enough or anything else then remember: in cyberspace, nobody can hear (or see) you sing! Our rehearsals are streamed on Zoom and you will be able to hear the conductor and accompanist plus all the singers in the room, but nobody else will be able to hear you. And though we love to see lots of happy faces taking part, if you prefer to have your video switched off that’s absolutely fine.
- If you’re all ‘zoomed out’ after a day of working at home but you’re not able to join us in person, you can stretch your legs, perhaps find a different spot in the house if you have a suitable laptop, tablet or smartphone and have a change of scene while singing. You don’t have to be on video yourself, so anywhere you feel comfortable will do
We love to have a great variety of people in our choir, so whatever your reason – even (perhaps especially) if it’s not on the list above – we want you to feel at home in Epworth Choir.
So what’s it like?
It’s like learning something new with a varied group of friends once a week. Some of us have been singing for decades and some of us only started recently. Some of us can read music, some ‘get by’, others sing mainly by ear. And we all have our own tastes in music. But we sing such a variety of different pieces and styles, we’re all learning something new every week. We learn from each other and we learn from our musical director and accompanist. They’re both accomplished professional musicians and have an enormous amount of experience in teaching and getting the best out of amateur singers.
How good at music do I need to be?
It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ you are, or how much experience you have, or whether you can read music. Honestly. Come and try singing with us for a week or two: if you enjoy it and want to come back then we’d love you to join. There are no auditions, no tests, no ‘judging’ at all. You just need to enjoy singing and learning.
At the start of each ‘term’, most of us are in the same boat: we’ve never sung the music before, so we’re all learning it together. It’s pretty ragged to start with, but there is plenty of rehearsal time before each concert and for the trickier pieces, we sometimes split into smaller groups of people all singing the same part so we can learn the notes more easily.
We have a special website just for members where we share recordings of the music we’re singing so you can play it in your car or on your phone or wherever until you get the hang of it. That’s a really good way of learning the music in between rehearsals even if you don’t always have your music with you or struggle to read the notes.
When and where?
We rehearse once a week at 7.30pm on Wednesday evenings at Trinity Methodist Church in Woking and online via Zoom. For the time being, rehearsals run until around 8.45pm with one 5 minute break part way through. We hope to adapt this back towards our ‘normal’ arrangement of 7.30pm – 9.30pm with a longer ~30 minute break in the middle as and when the COVID situation allows.
Top tips for enjoying rehearsals online
Online rehearsals are obviously very different to in-person ones, but we’ve found that these tips can help you to make sure you get the most out of them:
- Most importantly, find somewhere you’ll be comfortable singing. You don’t need somewhere with a tidy backdrop (we’re not proud!), and you can always turn off your video if you prefer. If there are others in the house and you’re self-conscious about singing, bear this in mind when choosing your spot! You just need good WiFi and somewhere you feel comfortable.
- Sit, stand or alternate. If you’ve been sat at a desk all day it can be preferable to stand and this is generally better for singing anyway. But it’s a long time to stand so feel free to mix sitting / standing as you feel comfortable.
- Consider using headphones. Some people find it a lot easier to get into the singing if they block out the world using a pair of headphones. This can also help to reduce disturbance to others in the household (although they obviously still get to enjoy your singing!).
We are planning a cautious return to in-person concerts, with plans to hold a number of concerts this year for family and friends, and perhaps a larger concert open to everyone in the spring of 2022. We will of course continue to evolve these plans as the situation allows.
We generally do 3 or 4 concerts a year – usually in April, June/July, October and a Christmas concert in December. We team up with other groups of singers, dancers and musicians depending on the concert, and perform in halls, churches and other venues around Woking and Guildford. Take a look at our past and future concerts pages to get a good idea of the range of music and concert venues.
How do we support local charities?
Each concert raises money for our charity of the year. Usually someone from the charity will come to the concert to speak about what they do. The charity helps us to promote the concert and then they take a collection from the audience at the end of the concert. The costs of putting on the concert (such as venue hire, fees for professional musicians and so on) are covered by the choir so the charity doesn’t have to worry about whether ticket sales will cover all of the costs; it just takes the whole of the collection. Over the years, Epworth Choir has raised tens of thousands of pounds for local charities through its concerts.
The choir covers concert costs by charging for ticket sales so it’s really important that everyone in the choir helps to sell tickets to family, friends, colleagues and anyone else they can find!
When can I start?
This week! You are more than welcome to start any time during term time. The best thing is to just try us out one Wednesday evening and see how you get on. You’ll need to contact us (details below) and we will let you know how the details you’ll need to join us in person or online.
If you decide to stay in the choir long-term, there is a per-term charge made to all choir members which covers the costs of our rehearsal venue, our professional musical director and accompanist and other sundry running costs. The fee is currently £60 per term for those attending in person and £30 per term for those attending on Zoom.
Finding our rehearsal venue
Join us any Wednesday evening during term time at 7.30pm at the Trinity Methodist Church, Brewery Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 4LH.
If you would like to find out more, please e-mail: email@example.com, telephone: 01483 756670 or just fill in the form below: