Find out the story be­hind our fab­u­lous Christ­mas CD

Rev­erend Sue Gué­nault shares the story of the choir be­hind our 2017 Christ­mas CD.

The People's Friend - - 8 -

EV­ERY year our Christ­mas Special comes with a CD of fes­tive mu­sic, and this time we’re de­lighted to be fea­tur­ing the vo­cal tal­ents of the “Good News Singers”. They’re an in­spi­ra­tional lo­cal choir founded by Rev­erend Sue Gué­nault and her husband, Mark.

“The Singers orig­i­nally formed to per­form a mu­si­cal called ‘Sing Good News’ to cel­e­brate the 900th an­niver­sary of our vil­lage’s Angli­can Church. We were asked to put a choir to­gether to com­mem­o­rate the end of the cel­e­bra­tions, and that’s how the name came about.

“It was only meant to be a one-off and then everybody said, ‘That was fun, we should do it again.’ That was in 1994 and we are still here twenty-three years later!”

As a min­is­ter, Sue is pressed for time, so the choir tends to per­form only about twice a year.

“We al­ways per­form at Christ­mas and usu­ally do some­thing in the sum­mer. It is an ec­u­meni­cal choir, and we have peo­ple of all de­nom­i­na­tions.”

Con­sist­ing of be­tween 50 to 60 singers, the choir al­most in­vari­ably sings as just one big unit, but this year they’ve made a few ex­cep­tions to en­able those with more time to take the choir where it’s needed.

“We are ac­tu­ally singing in some care homes this year – that will be re­duced groups.”

Any­one can hire the cheer­ing ser­vices of the choir.

“Peo­ple in­vite us, and we go with­out charge. Ev­ery­thing we earn goes to char­ity, so any­body can have us, pro­vid­ing they give any pro­ceeds away.”

A lo­cal con­nec­tion saw the Singers end up record­ing the “Friend” CD.

The part­ner of the pro­ducer, Steve, was a mum at the school Sue used to work at. Steve knew of the choir’s work, and asked them to per­form.

Singing the Christ­mas songs for the CD was quite a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence, as the mu­sic was recorded in the mid­dle of the sum­mer.

“We were all wear­ing shorts and we had to open all the win­dows! It was red hot that day!”

The songs were sung in their church, which we like to think lends the CD a lovely tone. It’s cap­tur­ing a choir per­form­ing where they were meant to be.

Sue told us that al­though the choir isn’t able to get to­gether very of­ten, it still has a pro­found im­pact on her and all the mem­bers.

“When life be­comes hec­tic, I know that if I spend an hour with the choir singing, I will feel a lot bet­ter for it.

“And the choir is very much your fam­ily. I was ill some years ago for a con­sid­er­able time. I had vis­i­tors ev­ery day from the choir and that kept me go­ing.

“They sup­ported my fam­ily, gave the chil­dren lifts when I couldn’t, so it re­ally is a fam­ily.

“We have had other choir mem­bers who have gone through ill­nesses and it’s been an in­cred­i­ble sup­port ve­hi­cle for them as well.”

In­clu­sion is key to the choir’s suc­cess – every­one’s wel­come. And Sue has never put a cap on the num­ber of peo­ple that can join – she’s happy for it to grow. Peo­ple are even start­ing to travel in from nearby vil­lages to take part.

“It’s very in­for­mal. The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple don’t read mu­sic and have never sung in a choir be­fore.

“We’ve also got peo­ple rang­ing from eigh­teen to ninety. Every­one re­ally is wel­come.”

Sue was de­lighted to be able to sing some of the tra­di­tional tunes for the Christ­mas CD.

“My favourite is ‘It Came Upon The Mid­night Clear’.”

Well, every­one does love the clas­sics!

Sue and the Good News Singers star on our Christ­mas CD, which comes with our Christ­mas Special. In shops now!

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