The University of Evansville at Harlaxton College is pleased to be hosting the award-winning singing organisation led by local choral director Sally Brown. Sally leads a family of choirs which includes The National Trust Out of Silence Choir, now meeting at Harlaxton when the diary permits, and The Choir Invisible, The Gospel Choir of the East Midlands, with rehearsals on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 to 9.30pm in the Great Hall of Harlaxton Manor – a venue so gloriously resonant it’s difficult not to break into song!
The Choir Invisible has astonished the region by springing up from nowhere as if overnight, bringing together over ninety singers in six short months. The singers come from all walks of life, are aged seventeen to seventy and have one important thing in common – they have become seriously hooked on the incredible ‘feel-good’ factor of this music. They travel from across the region to sing together, from Nottingham, Leicester, Melton Mowbray, Retford, Newark, Lincoln, Boston and Peterborough to this central venue. Anyone interested in joining can contact the secretary, Pauline Dobson, on 01529 304370, E: email@example.com
In the slightly lunatic, very British, tradition of ‘going for it’, despite being just six months old, the choir set its sights on competing alongside the very best choirs in the country. Entering the regional heats of the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year Competition in Cambridge on Sunday April 2nd, the choir became ‘Choir of the Day’ going through to the national stages in June.
Musical Director Sally Brown established the choir feeling there was a real need for a choir to sing the great heart songs of the gospel repertoire in their broadest, most inclusive spiritual context, welcoming all-comers. With this aim, the Choir Invisible now sings the glorious harmonies of South African gospel alongside the blues and jazz-inflected songs of the African-American tradition, singing from the heart with total commitment and huge joy.
Sally’s approach is unconventional, believing that we can all think the unthinkable and achieve beyond what we dreamed possible. The majority of singers in her choirs have never sung in a choir before and there is no audition process. Performing a capella or unaccompanied, all the music is taught 'by ear' in the traditional way with no use of written music.
Out of Silence is a creative music project which grew from Sally’s accidental discovery of hand-written, 17th century songbooks in large country house owned by the National Trust. In bringing those original songs ‘out of silence’, Sally has developed a unique approach to researching, interpreting and creating music which breathes life into the past and gives voice to forgotten people and their extraordinary histories. All the recent work, at Belton House in Lincs, at Clumber Park near Worksop and at The Workhouse in Notts, have all featured in a recent series of pieces on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’. More interesting information and soundclips are available at www.outofsilence.co.uk
Sally is the founding Musical Director of The National Trust Out of Silence Choir and six other thriving world music choirs in the East Midlands, including Wide World Voices in Grantham, Global Harmony in Melton Mowbray, Woven Chords in Stamford and the world music choir in Newark. She has twenty-six years experience of work in a community context, and is known as an inventive teacher and a talented communicator with a contagious sense of fun and a deep love of music. Her love of singing comes through in an approach which is all-inclusive, teaching without written music and singing ‘by heart’.
Sally had an unconventional route into the work with choirs. During twenty years of work as a professional sculptor, completing a research project in West Africa as a Winston Churchill Fellow and a year as sculptor-in-residence with the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, Sally had been moonlighting in a variety of blues, bluegrass and jazz outfits in the North-East. In the nineties, Sally gave up sculpture to tour the UK and Ireland with her own swing band, playing both fiddle and double bass. She was accepted into the School of Music at Newcastle upon Tyne without being able to read a note of music, and went every class they’d let her take, and some they wouldn’t.
Sally combines the choir work with writing. In summer 2003 she wrote a story called Inside Ella Fitzgerald which won the Orange prize for short fiction run in conjunction with Harper’s and Queen magazine. She is now completing a novel about Django Reinhardt, the Gypsy jazz guitarist, and is represented by Lizzy Kremer at David Higham and Co., literary agents.
Last Updated: 23/08/2011 4:50 PM