Having read the brilliant Blackpool Soundwaves Learn to Sing Preview, right here on altblackpool back in January, I was immediately intrigued. I love music, from rock to classical, folk to jazz – you name it. And I’d never really tried to create it myself, not unaccompanied, using my untrained vocal chords alone. So this sounded like it could be great fun. I signed up right away.
At session one of a four-week course, I sheepishly crept into Springfield Greenlands Methodist Church and was greeted without delay, by the lively and lovely Soundwaves ladies, ready to sign me in. They struck a tick by my name, penned me a ‘Katy’ sticker and enthusiastically pressed a learner’s pack into my hands. There was certainly no turning back. I didn’t know anyone among this bustling, sixty-strong newbie crowd – but then, neither did anybody else. Oh, how that would change!
Samantha Roberts, Musical Director of the (once) twenty-strong Soundwaves chorus, was “absolutely overwhelmed” by the huge assembly of keen ladies who had turned out that evening; both young and old – mums, grandmas, sisters, daughters, aunties – each and every one eager to sing and learn!
Across the following four weeks, Lauren would begin our sessions with simple dance warm-ups, then Sam and Christine would tackle the intricacies of vocal production and the correct singing techniques. Each week they would cover a different aspect of good quality singing, which they refer to as Basic Craft.
We initially went on to sing a round of basic songs, including Oh When The Saints, She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain and Swing Low, to get a feel for where our voices sat most comfortably within a ladies’ Barbershop Quartet, whether that be bass, baritone, lead or tenor.
Each vocal section worked week-on-week to learn their respective and often complex components of three beautiful songs: Lollipop, With A Little Help From My Friends and That’s What Friends Are For. In every session we took great enjoyment from the musical learning process, which was both fascinating and a great giggle (singing tricky baritone, I’ve experienced many a forgotten or missed note – but we just laugh and carry on).
Immense pride was frequently visible across beaming faces when practicing our songs together, as a full chorus, as each individual vocal section brought their distinct and stunning sound to the tune.
Learning with the Soundwaves ladies and performing our three beautiful songs to friends and family brought a little tear to my eye, but nobody’s meant to know that!
The pinnacle of the course, our ‘friends and family night’, was a great way to meet the those who supported these ladies over the last few weeks and for them to show off their new skills – and boy did they do that! Many of these ladies had never sung a note before Learn to Sing! I am very proud!
The hard work and preparation for the event was so worthwhile, and I hope that the 60 Ladies that passed through our doors enjoyed themselves and took something positive away with them.
The Blackpool Soundwaves ladies are an inspirational chorus, of which I am now an official member. Yes, I’m staying! They have motivated me and so many others to jump aboard a truly harmonious journey of song, fun and friendship.
If you have even the tiniest inkling to enquire about joining the Soundwaves ladies, I would encourage you to contact Christine, on 07947 557 774, or Trish, on 07811 607 783. Alternatively, come on down and see us. We meet every Tuesday evening at Springfield Greenlands Methodist Church Hall, Bispham Road, Blackpool, FY2 0LB.
Blackpool Soundwaves looks forward to welcoming even more new ladies.
Photos courtesy of Katy Slade.
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