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Pakefield Singers Members Survey 2012

 

Feedback on life in the choir shows that members are very proud of their choir and are unanimous in their enthusiasm about it.

Almost everyone in the choir completed a survey and, given the variety of our musical and other backgrounds, it is quite amazing how well we all agreed in our ratings of various aspects, including musical direction, our repertoire, how much we learn about singing and about music, as well as how friendly the choir is.

The survey asked us to rate our satisfaction with how the choir runs.  It also left space for people to add their own thoughts and ideas for fund-raising, or for making improvements.

In response to the question, 'If you could change one thing about the choir, what would you change?', a number of people said "Nothing! I love it!" and in response to the question, 'What do you like most about the choir', a similar proportion said, "Everything!"

  • "Everything! Learning new pieces, learning about singers I've never heard of before, trying to sing in different ways, meeting lots of really nice people, learning more about how to sing."
  • "It's great and really enthuses me to think that all members potentially have equal opportunities to sing, both younger and older as well as those with more privileged musical backgrounds and those who are relatively deprived."

The survey threw up lots of interesting ideas. Quite a few people said they would like to go abroad again. Lots said they would like more singing days because they had enjoyed the last ones so much. Members also said they liked linking up with singers from outside the choir and also that they liked having such a diverse repertoire. One person suggested we should take part in a singing festival.

Most of all, we love singing and making a sound that other people can enjoy

  • "Singing, friendly atmosphere, brilliant tuition."
  • "The pleasure of other people's enjoyment of the choir."
  • "Being able to learn a wide variety of songs and perform them in different, wonderful venues/places e.g. Snape Maltings, Kentwell and Denmark."
  • "Being part of a choir that makes such a lovely sound!"
  • "Being able to sing at a high standard."

We really like the social side of the choir and plan more social events. The next one will be on January 12th, a repeat of the meals together that we have enjoyed so much before. The choir is a great way to meet new people and to make friends.

  • "Feels like being in a big family. Am amazed at how quickly I have been accepted and love coming to rehearsals (and performances!)."
  • "I was made to feel very welcome and I enjoy meeting lots of new people from difference places and ages", "Everybody was most welcoming and I feel I have made lots of new friends"
  • "The Pakefield Singers are a very welcoming group to which I am very proud to belong."
  • "It's serious but fun! Vetta is brilliant! I have made some lovely friends. I always feel so happy when I've been!"

Perhaps more than anything, we like learning new ways of singing and finding out about new music.

Most of us said we hadn't expected to learn as much as we have. We definitely think we're lucky to have such a brilliant musical director and such a wonderful accompanist.

  • "We are extremely fortunate to have such a talented musical director. The tuition we get is over and above the norm, and would cost many pounds if privately paid. Credit too to Alison who patiently plays repeatedly and fields any dramas!"
  • "I didn't know I was a soprano until I joined the choir. It's really exciting exploring how high I can sing!"
  • "I can honestly say that I've enjoyed virtually everything we've done. Some are more fun than others, but not, perhaps, so rewarding as others, but I've found challenge and enjoyment in all of our repertoire"
  • "Love the range of music. Have enjoyed everything so far. It's a joy to sing with the choir and director!"
  • "I have been amazed at how much my voice has improved, as has my sight-reading, breath control and sheer stamina. I treat every rehearsal as a masterclass with Vetta and am grateful to have such an experienced, talented musical director to learn from."
  • "I think it's a brilliant choir and the Director.. helps us to get better and better! She has lots of energy and is always giving more and more to help us individually and as a group. She expects a lot of choir members, which isn't always easy for her or us, but it's much better than having someone putting us down or talking down to us!"
  • "I like singing lots of different things, like the African music and things from opera and musicals, etc. I've discovered loads of kinds of music I didn't really know much before."

 

 

Passtime with good company

Following their successful summer concert with the London Gala Orchestra at Long Melford's Kentwell Hall, in which the Pakefield Singers performed Beethoven's 9th Symphony, the group returned to Lowestoft on 13th November with an altogether different programme for its 13th annual Salvation Army benefit concert at St. Peter's Church, Kirkley.

Braving this cold and damp November evening, the audience was treated by this well-established local choir to a programme dedicated, as the title suggests, to an evening of good company and music spanning a diverse range of ages, cultures and styles. Their guest was popular local young tenor soloist Nicholas Allen, currently studying at London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Choir items included everything from magnificent sacred music, including Handel's "Zadok the Priest" and Mozart's "Ave Verum" to well-loved spirituals, a subtle and sophisticated arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence", and the powerful theme song from the film "Exodus".

Under Vetta Wise, the musical director, the group presented a wide variety of emotions and vocal textures: a clear indication of the Pakefield Singer's aim for musical versatility and appropriateness of style, and Vetta's vision of how this group can respond to the challenge of competing genres.

Nicholas Allen presented two impressive groups of solo songs, by Tosti, Schumann, Vaughan Williams and Finzi, two beautifully executed opera arias, and "On the Street where you Live", which he had not sung since his solo performances on tour to Denmark with the Singers in 2007. Both Nicholas and the choir were sensitively accompanied by Alison Evans at the piano, who was a rock of support throughout.

The evening's "grand finale" was a combined performance of choir and soloist of the well-loved "I believe". As the words of this beautiful song faded into the cold November night, it brought to an end the eclectic musical journey with the Pakefield Singers -and the celebration of song and fundraising for South Lowestoft's Salvation Army- for another year at least.

One thing was certain: the evening was indeed 'Pastime with good company' for those attending!

Nicholas Allen - tenor soloist

 

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