It all started in April 2015…
… and in our choir director’s head a few months’ earlier than that. Jim had a dream of setting up his own choir which would rehearse and perform a mix of modern and more classical songs in SATB (or for those not familiar with choral lingo–soprano, alto, tenor, bass). And he also wanted to give keen, local singers a chance to rise up to a new challenge in a friendly and fun environment. So the first auditions were held soon after Easter this year and two rehearsal groups of around 100 people in total started in Wimbledon, South West London. Mostly we are singers who love to sing but have little classical choral experience, but we all have a desire to learn and have fun along the way, and Jim is an excellent teacher to do that with!
What we do
We rehearse on Monday and Thursday evenings and also get together on the weekends sometimes for extra rehearsals, workshops and/or small group singing in Jim’s studio (or the park!) He is awesome at letting us come up with our own questions at each rehearsal too. We are focusing on one choir performance a term–our first being at the end of July–and we are also looking forward to getting involved in more choral events happening in the community around us.
What else is needed?
Starting up a choir involves a fair amount of promotion, organisation, marketing and technical expertise (especially to set up online booking for auditions and then subscriptions for new members) and a lot of faith that the idea will work. We are fortunate as a group that we have several members who are contributing to all these things too. It’s great for lots of people to get involved to help build a choir community.
Where we’re heading
Right now we’re forming our Eclipse Choir sound and personality. It’s an exciting, challenging and a pretty rare experience, as most choirs are already formed, singing and performing by the time you join them. Each week we are treading new ground and we’re coming away with smiles on our faces, but often with brain ache too! I know we’re mostly all experiencing a new technical awareness musically about what we’re singing and learning, which is also a golden opportunity. Jim’s goal is for us to compete in 2016 in some choir competitions, which will be a first for most of us. There are lots of firsts for Eclipse Choir coming up over the next few weeks and months and I’m delighted to be part of this!