Singing is just the beginning!
Abi Gilchrist
May 18, 2023
This is a lovely piece written by one of our founding Whitstable members, Emma, about how the East Kent choirs have grown as a community and created a whole social network for members.

'Back in early 2017 my friend, who is a singer in a band, persuaded me to come along with her to a new evening soul choir. Apart from her, I knew no one as I was fairly new to the area. When I first started choir I was so nervous and I could barely hear my voice, but encouraged by my friend, I started to project my voice a little more. Soon, she couldn’t carry on with choir due to other music commitments but I did and, eventually, went to the pub after choir one evening with our leader Ross. There were just three of us and we didn’t know each other, but we very quickly worked out we all love travelling and began discussing our adventures. I didn’t know it at the time but these two people, along with many others, would become firm friends.

The choir began to swell in numbers and slowly, over several months, more people started to come for a drink after choir and got to know each other. We were all from very different walks of life and I think that’s what makes it such an interesting social group. In that first year, we did a few local gigs which were a great bonding experience as well as a couple of incredible gigs in London such as ‘On Blackheath’ festival. For these events, we travelled together in cars and coaches, so we really had time to chat as well as perform. Then, we had our first Christmas party. We all had such a good time together even though we still didn’t know each other that well and it became apparent that along the way we had formed a community, united in a love of singing. The funny stories and memories created from that first party all helped to build on that bond.

After that first year friendships grew from strength to strength, as did our numbers, and we got to know the other East Kent groups better as well. I became Social Secretary along with one of the people I was in the pub with that first time and before long, we were having regular social events and the first choir holiday in Sicily happened. Now, 6 years later, we have many friendship groups, day trips, nights out, gigs, board game nights, karaoke, holidays, a walking group and a book group. In addition to all the fun, there is a kindness and support between choir members that is very touching. Choir has changed my life for the better in many ways, but most importantly, I have made some incredible life-long friends.'

Emma - Whitstable

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