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What joining a choir has done for me.....

Judy (pictured front centre), with the choir and founder Choir Leader, Flora Smith (front left), performing at The Puffin Festival in Amble Town Square, May 2015. (One of Nevill's photos)

Only ever having sung around the house, I saw an advert for a choir starting in Amble. Being at a stage in life when I needed something different to stimulate me, I decided to go along.

Flora was our leader then, and it was through her bringing a flyer into choir one week that I had an experience that I would never have expected at the age of 70. The flyer was for mature people to take part in a film about a choir. It said as long as you could hold a note they would like you to go along for an audition.

As I had nothing doing on the following Monday, I decided I would see what it was all about. The result was that I was chosen as a soprano to take part in a film called 'A Song for Marion' about a choir for mature people. My family thought it hilarious that their mother should be in a film with some wonderful people like Terence Stamp, Anne Reid, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton.

To experience what happens behind the scenes of film making was very interesting and making friendships with other choir members is something that I will never forget.

Much of the filming was done on location in Newcastle and Durham, including St. Francis Community Centre (by Freeman Hospital), Newcastle City Hall, Tyne Theatre & Opera House, and Durham Johnston Comprehensive School.

And all of this because I decided to join Amble's Harbour Lights Community Choir.

You never know what life has in store for you.

Judy Baird, June 2020

Judy brought in a cake to celebrate her 80th birthday with the choir last December.


by Boff Whalley & Commoners Choir

Here's the YouTube video we sang along with at our Zoom-Sing with Alison Scott on last night, and is for those who enjoyed it to listen again. Also for Vivienne who logged out due to a poor broadband connection - missing out; for those who were unable to join us, and; of course for those who are frustrated by the limitations Zoom, who might wish to catch up here.

The words are based around a poem of Michael Rosen, and our support for all those who have kept going through the epidemic - so often taken for granted, many of whom are the lowest paid in our society, and referred to as "unskilled".

And if you enjoyed that, maybe you might like to see the Commoners Choir 'Singing Together Apart'. Coping with the limitations of Lockdown, to find a way to keep functioning as a choir. T

The inspiration behind this song was the media clips of city dwelling Italians, singing out, to reconnect with their neighbours and friends from their balconies, whilst self isolating during the days when the epidemic was sweeping through northern Italy, above otherwise deserted, and abnormally quiet streets except for the sound of the sirens of emergency vehicles.

I've been lucky in singing a couple of other Commoners Choir songs when singing with The Clarion Choir in Shrewsbury, (led by the wonderful Roxane Smith), prior to Les & I relocating to Northumberland to be closer to family - now some 18 months ago.

How time flies!

A big thank you to Alison Scott who helped broaden our horizons in a different direction by agreeing to stand-in, in Sarah's absence.

During the split-session evening (with Secretary Alison at the controls), we were also able to partake of 'Rum and Coca Cola' (The Andrews Sisters) from the 1940s, and a slightly different version of Neesa Neesa (the Seneca Native American shamanic chant).

Paul Stocks 3rd July 2020


My Lockdown Reflections - Kate Burnham

How many weeks has it been now? I forget, just as half the time, I don’t know which day of the week it is. Being retired, I don’t have the structure of a working day and week but I used to have structure from the groups and meetings I used to attend. I have missed my family although our weekly Zoom meetings keep us in touch more regularly than in usual times! Technology has been a great benefit and has also been employed to speak to friends and of course, to meet our lovely choir members!  

I have loved that the pace of life has been slower, the traffic reduced and the environment improved by less air travel. We are sitting in the garden more and by the river, walking to the beach and enjoying the natural world, especially the woodpeckers visiting our feeders, now accompanied by a chick. The birdsong seems clearer and more melodic. I feel very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country with a small population. I am also grateful that, unlike many others, I do not have the worry of job security and the financial problems that can bring. 

I have been able to indulge hobbies which I love – reading new titles and re-reading old favourites. 

I really enjoy sewing and making patchwork quilts and vowed to finish off the many items started and then put away, as well as making a quilt for my niece’s wedding in September.  However, I became involved with the Amble Sewing for the NHS group, which is making

Now, there will be some easing of the restrictions which have made the past weeks so strange. I have mixed feelings about this. I know my grandchildren, and their parents, are desperate to get back to school and work but have enjoyed having more time together. I am concerned that some people will assume that life can just go back to the way it was at the beginning of the year, forgetting that the virus is still a relevant danger to many people. The health crisis brought out many positive, altruistic qualities in our society as well as showing up faults. I hope that in the future neither of these will be forgotten. 

Warkworth, June 21st 2020

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