The Power Of Choirs For Good

We asked lovely Liz Shaw to tell us why she joined Choirs For Good and what she enjoys about it…
I moved to Pembrokeshire six year ago with my partner and our dogs after growing up on the Welsh/English border in Oswestry. Every summer when I was a child we came on holiday to Pembrokeshire in my grandparents’ caravan, and I remember each year when it was time to leave saying to my Mum: ‘I’m going to live there when I grow up.’ So when a job opportunity came up in Haverfordwest, I was so happy to be able to move here. Pembrokeshire feels like my forever home now. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I joined Choirs For Good last summer. As I had recently given birth to our first child, Theo, choir practice on a Tuesday evening sounded like a good opportunity to have a short break from the routine of nappy changing, feeding and laundry, as well a chance to sing something other than lullabies and nursery rhymes.
I hadn’t sung in a choir since school, mainly due to a lack of confidence, and I hadn’t yet found a choir with a repertoire of songs I enjoyed singing; but at Choirs For Good we sing a range of popular pop and rock songs as well as festive tunes at Christmas of course. My favourite song so far is a mash-up of Coldplay’s Fix You and Sit Down by James. Tom Dyer and the rest of the choir were really welcoming when I first joined. There’s no auditions or pressure to do performances and you don’t have to read any music – which means it’s really inclusive. All the harmonies are available online when you join too, so they are relatively easy to pick up the more you listen to them.
Soon after I started choir, our son was diagnosed with a rare congenital eye condition which means he is registered as ‘severely sight impaired’ after which many medical appointments and therapies became a part of our daily lives, along with the inevitable worries for the future. Choirs For Good has now become even more important for me as for that hour each week I completely switch off from the day-to-day worries and can be present, singing in harmony side by side with a range of people of all ages with a whole host of life stories that I may not have otherwise been lucky enough to get to know.
Singing with others has scientifically been proven to benefit our health by improving breathing, posture and muscle tension, as well as releasing the feelgood endorphins and helping cognitive function in those with dementia. Being part of a choir is great for social interactions too, acting as an icebreaker (check out a study by Oxford University here:
The Choirs For Good charity of the year for 2023 is Wales Air Ambulance, and recently nine of us took to the stage at a charity choir ‘sing off’ at Blue Stone Brewery near Newport. It was the largest crowd we’d ever sung to, with an audience of 300 and a judging panel – and there were five other choirs performing. The other choirs were amazing, so when we took to the stage, we were feeling a little nervous to say the least, but we got a roaring reception following our performance of Fix You and Moving On Up and to our astonishment we actually came third!
The evening ended with all the choirs singing Calon Lan and the National Anthem which was enough to give everyone who was there goosebumps and we were certainly buzzing from those natural endorphins and maybe a pint (or two) of the Blue Stone Brewery Beer! Most importantly, the evening raised an impressive £3,412 for Wales Air Ambulance.
Our next gig’was at Saundersfest at Saundersfoot Harbour from 7 to 9 July. Choirs For Good has a number of choirs all over Wales, so on that Friday evening from 5.30pm we were joined by members of the other choirs too. Hopefully we will see you at one of our rehearsals at HaverHub, Haverfordwest (every Tuesday at 7.30pm; contact for more details).

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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