Rock Choirs find their voice in Derbyshire

Like me, for the sanity of others, you may feel that the only appropriate time to be belting out a tune is while you are in the shower – but it seems thousands of people are now discovering their singing voice by joining the phenomenon that is Rock Choir.

Six hundred of so of those are in a series of groups spanning Derbyshire and neighbouring Nottinghamshire and a quick glance at their facebook pages will tell you that they having  fantastic fun.

It is obvious that they all have their weekly practice date ringed in their diaries for months to come and wouldn’t dream of letting anything get in the way of their singing.

The ethos of Rock Choir is to be totally inclusive and not judge people on ability or talent. It’s like one big family where everyone’s welcome. No singing ability is required to be able to join in and you don’t even need to be able to read music.

It was founded in 2005 by professional singer and musician Caroline Redman Lusher, who first got the idea while teaching A-level to performing arts students who couldn’t read music. So instead she taught them to sing by rote around the piano.

It was such a hit with the students that Caroline decided to try the simple concept on others. She put out flyers where she lived in Farnham in Surrey and when 70 people showed up at the inaugural gathering she knew she was on to something.

Within six months plans were underway to start up Rock Choirs across the country. Each had a musician as a leader who had been trained to follow the established model.

One of those is Jennie Harwood, who leads the five groups in this region, at Duffield, Mickleover, Derby, Beeston and Rainworth.

“I was working at a recording studio when a friend pointed out the vacancy for a Rock Choir leader in Derbyshire and although I didn’t know that much about Rock Choir I was intrigued and thought it would be fun.

“Immediately I felt I’d come across something that did lots of good and made people really happy too.

“There is a lot of laughter and a lovely atmosphere and what I enjoy is that each group has a different personality.  We give those taking part a bit of self belief and confidence and it is very rewarding to see the results.”

Each term the songs are chosen by the founder Caroline, who works out how the choir leaders can best teach them. 

The choirs sing everything from Beatles ballads to uplifting gospel songs and a huge variety in between. This term Abba’s Super Trooper is on the list.

After weeks of practising the chosen songs, the members get the chance to perform in venues ranging from shopping centres to the O2 or Wembley Arena.  Over the years, Rock Choir has pulled off lots of stunts – from flash mobs to Guinness World Record attempts.

If you have always wanted to sing your heart out but lack in confidence then Rock Choir is for you. Go to rockchoir.com and enter your postcode to find your nearest group.