Across the UK groups are discovering their voices and making new friends as the popularity of choirs continues to grow.
For many, singing with others has become something far more than a creative and musical hobby, with many choruses functioning as social groups, networking circles and support structures for their members who often come together around a common interest or cause.
One Welsh choir in particular has been brought together by an unlikely and altogether far less pleasant shared story.
The Big C Choir is made up of cancer patients united by a love of music, many of whom only began singing in public less than twelve weeks ago. Since then they’ve shared a stage with tenor Russell Watson and received a standing ovation at the Royal Albert Hall where they performed with the likes of Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Brian May of Queen, Alice Cooper and Alfie Boe.
Speaking to BBC Wales health correspondent Owain Clarke, choir member Leanne Hugglestone talked about the excitement of performing at such a prestigious venue. She said, “we all felt like kids again. We were brushing up with Alice Cooper, Brian May – we had autographs and photographs.”
Fellow Big C chorister, Robert Catton spoke of the benefits offered by the choir for those undergoing treatment. He spoke to the BBC: “for the time that you’re singing and the days that you’re singing, you genuinely forget what’s wrong with you.”
Another choir member told ITV reporter Nicola Hendy: “It’s taken my mind off the cancer solely 24/7 and onto something positive which is something I can do with my family. And I can enjoy the singing at the same time!”
A spokesperson for the cancer charity Tenovus, who currently organise and fund The Big C, talked about the choir’s positive impact on the lives of its members: “Actually being able to share experiences of treatment and emotional turmoil has had enormous benefits, so we really need to look at how we can support more patients in this way.”
Over the past two months, a team of documentary film makers from Channel 4 has followed the choir for a forthcoming TV programme entitled Sing For Your Life, and plans are afoot to record and release a debut single into the charts.
Alternatively, check out The Big C Choir at Tenovus.org.uk.