ANYONE CAN JOIN
Caroline Redman Lusher nur tured Rock Choir, now known as “the biggest national cultural movement of the decade”…
Joy and happiness – that’s what we do,” Caroline Redman Lusher enthuses. It’s a short and sweet summary of the phenomenon known as Rock Choir, the nationwide group of contemporary choirs.
“Our members are amateur singers,” explains Caroline, who founded the organisation in 2005. “Some join simply because they love singing, others to meet new friends, or just to try something new.
“Through Rock Choir they make friendships, develop self-confidence and achieve all sorts of challenges. It’s a multi-layered experience.
Our Rockies are all at different places in their lives but the end result for all of them is joy and happiness.”
“We might now be 28,000 members strong but there is still a family feel. That’s how it evolved. My dad – now fondly known as ‘Captain Rock Choir’ – helped me set it up and remains a big part of it. I was brought up with music – Dad would blast out ELO and other music of that era. Mum was into ABBA and I’d sing along. I won a music scholarship I was lucky enough to complete a degree in music before working professionally for five years.”
“I went on to teach at a sixth form college in Surrey, where I was asked to help performing arts students who weren’t able to read music. I suggested they gather around the piano to sing and I made up some harmonies which I taught them by rote. That small group of students on a Wednesday lunchtime ended up being a joyous, 170-strong group of students from all different courses. Eventually one of the mums said, ‘Can’t you do one for us parents?’ So with my boyfriend (now my husband) Stuart’s encouragement and a loan from Dad, I left the college to set up a choir. Mum came up with the name Rock Choir, and I put a poster up in the
We might be 28,000 strong now, but there’s still a family feel to it
local café. It was as simple as that. Then, as now, there was no requirement to read music and no need to audition. The floodgates opened for anyone who loved to sing.”
“I’d seen the confidence and achievements of the students soar, but of course adults have different sorts of problems going on in their lives, and I wondered if Rock Choir would have the same impact. It did!
“Our members often share their stories with us, telling us how the choir has had such a positive impact on their personal relationships, their families and work. I’m especially proud of people who tell me they no longer take antidepressants after being on them for years – how amazing is that?”
All the choirs learn and perform the same songs each season, along with a few simple choreographed moves.
“We have local choirs as far apart as Aberdeen in Scotland and Helston in Cornwall, but the concept is that we remain as one choir, connected and performing as equals. I choose songs which fall into two camps – either feelgood, upbeat songs or emotional and anthemic. I arrange them musically to make them work for a choir, ensuring the phrasing works, there is vocal range and that the three harmony parts have equal melodies. If I start with an 80s song I ensure I counteract it with a current song because of the spread of ages involved – Rockies currently range from 18 to
94, and 2.6% are men and they are well loved! We have actually had some weddings between members and even babies born.”
“As adults there is always so much to deal with in life. When I can see the impact singing makes on members and the multi-layered experience around it, I can only imagine what a highly productive, emotionally balanced and nicer place our world would be if everyone joined a choir. They would be feeding their souls through singing and actually having some fun again.”
“We now have over 400 choirs around the country, performed thousands of times at events, and on TV and radio, we have several entries in the Guinness Book of World records, made an album at Abbey Road. I now have the opportunity to make Rock Choir an international concern, but our ethos and culture remain the same, as does that sense of ‘family’.”
“Being with members, making them feel part of this special family, part of one choir and sharing that joy and happiness – that will always be the most important thing to me.”
There are now over 400 choirs across the country Find your local Rock Choir by entering your postcode at www.rockchoir.com. For more information call 01252714 276
Igrewup with music
“Rockies” come from all walks of life