I was already a member of another choir, based in Highbury, when in the Autumn of 2009 I saw the advertisement for a new choir in Waltham Forest. However, I was ‘on a break’ as Ross from Friends would say but still wanted to do some singing and as it was going to be local I thought I would give it a go.
As I had experience of being in choir I was quickly cajoled into joining the committee. The first few years saw us acquire an Accompanist (Michael), the choir steadily grow in numbers and, in part due to the increase in numbers, locate to a new venue (not as near to me as the original venue was but still close enough!) – St Mary’s Church.
When I began my stint as Chair of the choir we increased our activity in the community significantly. We had already been taking part in the Chingford Festival since our first year but we began to take part in more events in the borough including the Art Trail, The Stow Festival and an ever-increasing number of Christmas events!
As we approached our 5th Anniversary, I and our then Musical Director, Marie-Claude, were keen for the choir to take on the challenge of a choral piece for our 5th Anniversary Concert. The choir had already got Faure’s Cantique in its repertoire but it’s fair to say that there was some resistance in tackling anything more substantial. Vivaldi’s Gloria was the piece chosen in the end by choir members. Rehearsals (and sectionals) were, I think it’s fair to say, somewhat challenging. However, the choir persevered and in the end, to everyone’s amazement, the choir put on a polished performance.
This achievement fired up the choir to take on another challenge, one that was a favourite with many choir members: Faure’s Requiem. Unfortunately due to recent surgery I was unable to take part but I was so proud of the choir when once again they delivered a brilliant performance.
As well as the events within the borough we have gone beyond boundaries of Waltham Forest and taken part in events at Tate Modern and the Barbican (twice!). The choir has become quite fearless in tackling the projects that have come our way!
I have to confess when the choir was established I proposed that we adopt a ‘sexy’ name as it would make the choir stand out (in what has become a crowded field since we came into being) and be more attractive to potential news members. However, the majority wanted to stick to Waltham Forest Community Choir and I am glad that we did. For me the most important word in our name is ‘Community’; we are a community, supporting each other through illness, births, bereavement, individual music-making projects, quiz and karaoke nights as well as being part of the wider community in Waltham Forest. Not for nothing do we describe ourselves as ‘a friendly choir’.
I am extremely proud of the choir and proud to be a founder member.