Ashill Har­mony Com­mu­nity Choir;

For mem­bers of Ashill Har­mony com­mu­nity choir, it is about so much more than just singing, writes Rachel Buller

EDP Norfolk - - Contents -

Since Ashill Har­mony Com­mu­nity Choir started two years ago, it has brought peo­ple to­gether, given them the con­fi­dence to sing their hearts out and boosted vil­lage spirit. It now has more than 30 mem­bers of all ages and, af­ter a num­ber of pub­lic per­for­mances, this month sees them face their tough­est chal­lenge yet.

“Like so many other peo­ple, I very much see Gareth Malone as my in­spi­ra­tion,” says founder Heather Dack. “I re­ally love the idea of get­ting a com­mu­nity to­gether, help­ing peo­ple get to know one an­other and giv­ing them con­fi­dence to try some­thing new. It is so much more than just a choir. Many of our mem­bers hadn’t sung since school so the first per­for­mance was very nerve-wrack­ing for them, but the eu­pho­ria when it fin­ished was amaz­ing.”

Heather, who runs two school choirs and is a mu­sic teacher at North­gate High School in Dereham, had long dreamed of start­ing a choir, but it was a chance meet­ing which in­spired her to start a com­mu­nity choir.

“I de­cided to do a choral di­rec­tors’ course in Lon­don and there were 30 or so peo­ple from all over the coun­try there. It turned out that one of those fel­low stu­dents was a lady from Ashill. She ran a church choir in Wat­ton, so of course we got talk­ing and it made me think not only about set­ting up my own choir, but also about how lit­tle we of­ten know peo­ple within our own com­mu­nity. I called a meet­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing it in the vil­lage mag­a­zine, and 13 peo­ple turned up. I couldn’t be­lieve it. Like many, I work out­side of the vil­lage so didn’t know many peo­ple. It has been fan­tas­tic to make friends, I run into them walk­ing their dogs with their ear­phones on, lis­ten­ing to their back­ing tracks and learn­ing words,” she says.

The choir has per­formed at var­i­ous events in the area and this month, the singers will take cen­tre stage at a spe­cial First World War com­mem­o­ra­tive con­cert.

“My hus­band’s grand­fa­ther, Sam Dack, fought at the Somme, and be­fore he died, an au­dio record­ing was made of him talk­ing about his ex­pe­ri­ences in the war. They are mov­ing, funny and fas­ci­nat­ing. As part of the con­cert, we will also be play­ing ex­cerpts of those record­ings, which will be very spe­cial.”

“I re­ally love the idea of get­ting a com­mu­nity to­gether, help­ing peo­ple get to know one an­other and giv­ing them con­fi­dence to try some­thing new. It is so much more than just a choir”

Ashill Har­mony Com­mu­nity Choir con­duc­tor Heather Dack

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