12th October 2018
Thanks to Jo Garton for this lovely guest blog post focusing on Swindon’s singing opportunities. Which are many and various. This is your note – sing it! Swindon’s lungs are bursting with singing opportunities.
Sing Something Swindon
Swindon is a city of choirs. Well – ok, it’s a town, but it feels like a city to many of us.
There have been many health and psychology studies which show that singing is good for your health. this easy form of self-expression helps maintain sound (pun intended) mental health. Swindon is the place to be if you want to sing, because thousands of people sing here every week and not just in the shower!
Of course, we have a history of singing here; the Mechanics Institute had a resident opera company, which famously made Swindon theplace to be in the UK if you fancied a bit of Russian opera! If you want to know more about that then I suggest you read Secret Swindon by Angela Atkinson, in which she tells more about that.
Nowadays we have highbrow, lowbrow and everything in between.
Probably Swindon’s longest established choir is the Swindon Male Voice Choir, founded in 1919. They meet weekly in Gorse Hill and have about fifty members. Over the years they have toured internationally and won many competitions and Eisteddfods.
The Swindon Choral Society is another long-established choir. It has roots right back to the 1920s. They also tour internationally with a repertoire that includes Requiems of Brahms and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius. The choral society has 110 singers and they meet in Freshbrook.
Like many of the choirs in Swindon they have raised a lot of money for charity – over the fifty-three years of their existence over £1 million. Their president is the internationally renown jazz singer Dame Cleo Laine. Their thirty-five women members have sung on national television and abroad.
Newer kids on the blog are The Magnificent AK47s formed in 2008. They meet in Ashton Keynes, but many of their members are from Swindon, some are not even members of the Spooner family! They have enjoyed success at the Derry International Choral Festival and the Cork International Festival. The AK47s are an all male choir who, for reasons not entirely clear, sing quite a lot about beards!
Swindon Community Choir started in 2000 as the Scratch Choir but over the years have changed their name. They favour a ‘natural voice technique’ which believes that singing is everyone’s birthright. They meet in the Central Community Centre in the railway village (what was the medical fund society hospital) on a Monday evening. This is a mixed choir, which welcomes new members without an audition. They have a wide ranging taste, singing folk, pop and international songs.
Running for twenty-five years and also raising money for good causes is the Thamesdown Ladies choir. The choir has around fifty members and a wide-ranging repertoire.
Finally, the BigSingThing has been running for seven years and meets in West Swindon on a Monday evening. Roughly ninety men and women sing each week. They perform concerts locally and have raised over £10,000 for charity. BigSing claims to be Swindon’s friendliest choir and sings pop songs old and new as well as some songs from musicals.
If you want to sing in Swindon there is plenty of choice!
Swindon Male Voice Choir: https://www.swindonmalevoicechoir.co.uk
Swindon Choral Society: http://swindonchoral.org.uk/scs/main.php
The Kentwood Choir: http://www.kentwoodshowchoir.org
The Magnificent AK47s: http://www.themagnificentak47.com
Swindon Community Choir: http://www.swindon.singtastic.co.uk
Thamesdown Ladies Choir: http://www.thamesdownladieschoir.co.uk
The Big Sing Thing: https://www.bigsingthing.org.uk