We’ve now completed two full-day Phoenix Voices choir rehearsals for this year’s Festival of Thrift (www.festivalofthrift.co.uk), and we've all been having a marvelous time.
Around 40 people are involved so far, including singers who participated in last year’s project as well as first-timers; men and women, novices and experienced singers. Many locations from across Tees Valley are represented including Guisborough, Skinningrove, Redcar, Saltburn, Darlington and Middlesbrough…..
Mouthful are being kept on our toes by these keen, quick learning group members! So far, they’ve gotten to grips with 10 – yes! 10 – varied pieces of music. The songs this year include a Croatian song (Divojka), a lively a cappella arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, a 4-part arrangement of The Ash Grove and new songs by members of Mouthful plus a range of rounds. Today we starting exploring ideas for texts which might become short poems or song lyrics. We thought about two kinds of viewpoints, as that is one of this year’s Festival themes. We talked about physical viewpoints, for example the wondrous experience of staring out to sea; and human viewpoints, like the challenge of managing conflicting opinions in a community.
We are enjoying the airy, welcoming rehearsal space in Earthbeat Centre, Saltburn, and the opportunities to share lunch, reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
Open to singers of all ages and abilities, Phoenix Voices first rose up for the Festival of Thrift in 2016. After three all-day rehearsals and four evenings, the 30-strong brand new choir delighted the crowds at Kirkleatham Museum across the Festival weekend, singing on the main stage as well as popping up all over the site to surprise and serenade Festivalgoers.
This year, Mouthful are pleased to have received support from Arts Council England, enabling us to have more rehearsals, accommodate more people, and to work with the brilliant Jane Cuthbert on costume and visual aspects.
Group members have shared many warm and generous reflections on their experiences:
“Feels so great singing with people again. It helps my wellbeing”
“I’ve been looking forward to this all year”
“Since last year, I have been singing the songs in the car with my grandchildren. They love them!”
“It’s really inspiring to do this”
So do come and join us - by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or attending the next rehearsal. Full schedule is: 3 and 10 September 10am – 5pm at Earthbeat Centre, Saltburn, 12, 13, 14, 20, 22, 22 September 7 – 9.30pm at St. Cuthbert's Church, Kirkleatham. Performances will be at Festival of Thrift, Kirkleatham Hall and Museum, 23/24 September at times to be confirmed between 10am and 5pm each day.