A little over 5 years ago, I moved to Bournemouth with my other half, knowing absolutely nobody else in the area. Joining a choir was not only my first chance to make some new friends, but also a way to settle into a different part of the country whilst still doing something familiar, and I can quite honestly say, signing up to audition was one of the best decisions of my life.
I did my best to hide it, but those first few weeks of sessions were absolutely nerve-wracking for me. Being 23 made me one of the youngest members at the time and everyone seemed incredibly sure of themselves and confident in what they were doing. Needless to say, I got over the fear pretty quickly, as Dan’s ‘throw you in at the deep end’ approach, whilst a little daunting at first, really does help you get up to speed quickly, and every member was so encouraging. Within a month choir had become my favourite 2 hours of the week!
In the 5 years I’ve been a member, Love Soul Choir has gone from strength to strength and the calibre of performances has got better and better. We’ve performed at the Mayflower Theatre, at festivals, weddings and even with Take That! But none of that takes away from the joy of the small intimate gigs we do as well, in many ways those are some of my favourites. I have family members who have come to see so many shows that I can sometimes see them doing some of their favourite moves along with us, which never fails to make me smile. Sometimes I’ll be out shopping and hear an old choir song come on the speakers and can’t help but bust out a couple of moves too.
Performances are wonderful, and I sign up for as many as I can, but really, the most valuable part of choir is the people. It sounds like a cliché but it’s so true. We may not speak every day, but I look forward to seeing everyone’s faces each week, and getting to catch up with Southampton members at shows is always a joy.
As someone who deals with a lot of anxiety problems, there are some weeks where I have to drag myself to the session, but I’m yet to have a week where I don’t feel better for it. At the start of each week’s session, Dan asks us if anyone has any news to share and I always love hearing about the achievements of the people around me, no matter how big or small. There really is an atmosphere of everyone being welcomed and valued, which means I feel free to be completely myself.
Singing in a group really does wonders for getting you out of your own head for a little while, and I’m sure it gives me a little extra confidence in my day-to-day life too.
My life has changed a lot in the last 5 years; I’ve had 3 jobs, moved house twice, tried (and failed at sticking to) various gym classes, been isolated in a flat through a pandemic, and even got engaged! But through it all this choir has been a constant, a grounding presence in my otherwise hectic life. I don’t know what I would do without it.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 5 years and will continue to love being part of it!
Thank you for letting me join the fun.
Love Rachel x
If you’d like to apply for an audition with Love Soul Choir, please visit the audition page on our website. Once you’ve sent your application to us, we’ll be in touch within a couple of days to schedule the time and place of your audition.