In January 2008 Audlem Voices was born when Jenny Collis-Smith started a new choir in the village. Her vision was to create a choir for mixed voices open to anyone who enjoyed singing. Thus there would be no voice test for new recruits nor would any standards be set about levels of musicality required. Her objective was to make membership of the choir fun and rewarding for all and hopefully to entertain anyone who came to listen!
Ten years later, these founding principles still apply and the choir has built an extensive repertoire of choral music encompassing everything from pop songs, through musical theatre, to the classic masterpieces of choral music. The choir still retains some of it's founder members but has now grown to a membership of around 40+ voices of whom about 40% are men, a remarkable achievement when many choirs struggle to attract male voices.
Choir insiders report that Jenny is still the glue that holds it all together and is the beating heart of the choir, although these days she is supported by an active hard working committee to help her make it all work. Her infectious sense of fun at rehearsals is backed by a steely determination to produce choral music to a high standard and attendances at the choir's concerts are proof of her success.
The role of Accompanist to a choir is a key one that requires a musician of exceptional talent who is able to empathise with the choir. Audlem Voices is incredibly fortunate to have Naomi Newman in that role. She joined the choir about a year ago and has established herself as a popular and valued member as well as being an extremely accomplished pianist. Naomi spent 13 years learning the piano with a very experienced teacher (somebody called Jenny Collis-Smith!) after which she studied music at University and is now a Music Teacher herself. The rapport between Jenny and Naomi is an enormous bonus to the performance of the choir and long may it continue.
Jenny says that the plan for the choir in 2018 will include re-visiting some pieces the choir performed in it's early years.
The photo with this article shows Jenny and Naomi at a recent concert.
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