Meet the Choir

Here are just a few comments from our members:

I first joined the Choral Society in 2007 having not sung in a choir since university. I felt I wanted to get back to singing again as I had enjoyed it when younger and the fact that my “local choir” was non-auditioning was an added bonus.

I joined because I wanted to sing as part of a group again but what I didn’t expect was the camaraderie that has come with it as well as the development of my own singing technique and confidence under Nick’s direction.

When my parents moved to the area, I asked if my mother would join us as although she hadn’t sung in a formal choir since school I knew she enjoyed singing. Although slightly nervous at first and concerned how it would fit in with other commitments, she recently told me it was the best thing she had done and how glad she is to be able to sing with such an accomplished choir and conductor.

I’ve now been part of the Choral Society for 10 years and although I haven’t always been able to sing in every concert (and some might say I shouldn’t have been singing Carmena Burana whilst 8+ months’ pregnant!) I have many great experiences to recall including singing Mozart’s Requiem with the English Chamber Orchestra, evensong at Portsmouth and Southwark Cathedrals and more recently singing at Carnegie Hall, New York. Interestingly though, the experience I take most pleasure in is the development of learning a piece and hearing the harmonies all coming together successfully.

Helen

 

Hi, my name is Eileen and I sing soprano in HCS. I have the honour of being a founder member.

I have seen HCS change and grow into the choir it is today, which is a friendly choir that makes great music through the performance of 4 concerts every year, plus some charitable work including Christmas Carol singing in the local pubs.

I think singing in a choir is a wonderful experience and combining that with an element of social life makes it even better. I met my husband Peter in the choir and he sings bass.

Eileen

The Hook Choral Society's invitation to New York to sing Howard Goodall's beautiful Requiem, Eternal Light, at Carnegie Hall was probably the greatest compliment that we have ever received.

The experience was thrilling! I learned so much singing technique from the intense 4 hour rehearsal sessions with Jonathon Griffith, and was secretly petrified of him but hugely inspired! It was such an honour to have the composer at rehearsal as well, giving us insights into his reasons for each movement. I felt really moved to sing to the utmost of my ability!
The singing was wonderful, but the whole NYC experience was such fun. I loved the buzz of the city, and the beauty of Central Park in the sparkling November sunshine.
Six of us went on an adventure on a RHIB speedboat around the Hudson and East rivers including going to the base of The Statue of Liberty, under the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the breathtaking skyline of Manhattan. It was a total blast!
I would love to go back to New York, but it would never be quite the same as this fabulous trip with some very special friends which I will treasure forever.

Olly

Due to family commitments, I moved to Hook 21 years ago with two small children, not knowing a soul. After organising activities for them, I set about finding something for myself.

Having sung in choirs since school and university (and even managed to appear on Songs of Praise when it was filmed in my home city of Chester!), joining a choir was my first priority.

I went along to an HCS open evening that September and met quite a few other “newbies” and, after a friendly rehearsal, I decided to join and the rest is history as they say. A stint on the committee meant I got to see “behind the scenes” at how much hard work goes into staging our concerts and selecting the music, as well as meeting new people.

I love singing Alto as we get all the harmonies; it’s a great workout for your brain to tackle a challenging piece and to lose yourself for a couple of hours. No matter what my day job has thrown at me, choir is a great distraction and a lot of fun!

Caroline

A friend suggested I go along to a singing workshop in Hook one Saturday - that was over 14 years ago now.

That day I was immediately accepted into the ‘HCS family’ and the warm camaraderie associated with it. Prior to this, I had been involved, for almost 40 years, in singing light opera both in the chorus and in principal roles but was looking for something new. Over the 14 years I have been challenged, frustrated and delighted in equal measure by the experience of singing beautiful music with such a great & talented group of people. In addition to our concerts, I have sung at a fellow chorister’s wedding and supported others at funerals. We have had many wonderful shared experiences singing in halls, cathedrals and churches, in various parts of the South as well as London, and had the experience of a lifetime last year singing in Carnegie Hall, New York. My husband is also now part of ‘the family’ running the bar and overseeing front of house at our concerts. All in all, joining HCS was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Bridget

 

I joined the choir way back in 1996. It was a sort of a natural progression; I liked the idea of singing, but had never sung in a choir.

For several very happy terms I joined a night school class called - Singing for Fun - and did just that. I met some nice people, sang mainly in unison (that's all together), not much harmonising, but plenty of rounds, some in the pub afterwards!

When that came to a natural end, my new found friend, Chris, and I joined a choir. Its helpful, but not mandatory, to join with a friend.

This was not altogether a success. I won't mention the name of the choir, but suffice to say it wasn't the most friendly. I remember being berated for not sitting on the chairs correctly, Wow. But we both learned we had reasonable bass voices, could occasionally pitch the right note and even count, not necessarily all at the same time.

We then joined Hook Choral Society and found our home, never looked back. It is so stress relieving to sing, you forget about your daily problems and concentrate on making music. Hook C. S. is a friendly, sociable choir and sings some serious stuff to a high standard with a membership encompassing all levels of musical competence, so if you feel out of your depth there's always someone to follow. Our choir master, Nick Woods, always brings out the best in people.

I can almost say that I married into the choir, as that's where I met my wife Eileen......and the rest is history, as they say.

Peter

I've been in the choir for 20 years and love it.

Relaxed, friendly and fun, it is something I really look forward to on Tuesday evening...as well as the pub afterwards. No auditions or pressure but the quality of the music is quite remarkable...due to the leadership and teaching of our very talented MD, Nick.

Charles

Performing Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light’ at Carnegie Hall in November 2016 was the trip of a lifetime.

The schedule was intense; two half-days of rehearsals began with a stern lecture from Maestro Jonathan Griffith on the professional standards expected by a Carnegie Hall audience. Then there was a voice coaching session, which I for one appreciated greatly during the hours of rigorous practice that followed. The Maestro was exacting, as he had to be if he was to make a single choir out of some 200 singers from choral groups across the USA and UK.

Howard Goodall came and spoke to us about his work and was a constant, charming and supportive presence throughout our rehearsals. The orchestra were excellent, as were the soloists; and Carnegie Hall was amazing! Behind the scenes we were marshalled through countless staircases and rooms in a carefully-regulated holding pattern before emerging onto the stage in this elegant, large, yet surprisingly intimate hall. We sang our hearts out and then all too quickly it was done – but we came home with some wonderful memories.

Pun