For two weeks this autumn, the first ever Waltham Forest ChoirFest will bring together community choirs from across the borough, to spread the joy of singing.
Running from Saturday 21 September to Saturday 5 October, the two week programme will feature performances and workshops from 11 local choirs, a musical theatre company, and even a Ukelele group, culminating in a mass performance on 5 October at Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
There will be a range of performances and activities - most of which are free - including concerts, workshops, music readings, tea parties and a play. Many of the participating choirs will be holding open rehearsals, encouraging residents to have a go at singing in a group themselves, and consider joining a choir.
Sandra Jerome, Chair of Starlighters Musical Theatre Company and one of ChoirFest's organisers, said: “We want to spread the word about the benefits of singing and perhaps encourage people to join a choir. The health benefits of singing are vast, including lowering stress levels, improving posture and helping you sleep. Singing is a wonderful way to meet new people and reduce isolation, hence our strapline 'Together in Song for Fellowship'. Our many choirs offer a diverse range of styles, so there is something for everyone.”
ChoirFest 2019 kicks off on International Day of Peace (Saturday 21 September) at Leyton Great Hall, with an open invitation from Natural Voices Choir to join their ‘global choir’ for peace. Choir founder Lizzy Renihan will teach the group a simple original song to perform to live music, at the same time as others across the world.
Starlighters Musical Theatre Company present a specially written comedy play with music at the Waltham Forest Community Hub. Showing on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 September, With One Last Breath tells the story of a group of residents who decide to start a choir to save their local retirement home.
London Forest Choir and Waltham Forest Community Choir perform a joint concert on Monday 30 September at St Mary’s Church Walthamstow, while Highams Park community choir Harmony E4, CLiC-Chingford Ladies Choir and eight women ensemble Songbirds will all perform in We All Stand Together at All Saints Church on Friday 27 September. CLiC and Songbirds will perform together again on Sunday 29 September, in an intimate concert for the Dementia Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital.
The grand finale of ChoirFest will be an evening of entertainment at Walthamstow Assembly Hall on Saturday 5 October. Each choir will perform individually, before joining together for a mass performance featuring all 300 singers. Tickets cost £10.70, and are available from Ticket Lab.
To find out about more about ChoirFest and view all events, visit choirfest.co.uk