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It’s not all about the performance…

It’s not all about the performance…

It’s about the act of singing, together.”Global Harmony” from Melton Mowbray.

Yes, at the end of each term we perform a concert and it’s always a very enjoyable event. Recently we had a great time (and the audience did too we trust) at Harlaxton Church in Lincolnshire, helping to raise funds for the community’s church. The church was full and the atmosphere was great.

However, I think it’s worth remembering that it’s not all about a performance.

Singing with these fine folk is a privilege. It’s not all about the performance, it’s about the act of singing, together. The whole thing’s bigger than the sum of its parts.

We don’t often get a chance to see film of us singing… but here are a few candid recordings of what we do…

As well as a 40-70 strong choir, us blokes get together when we can and try our hand at ‘things’.  There’s often 8-10 of us but in this instance, it was a challenge as there were only 4 of us available, one on each part – not much room for wobble. But, T, M and D did a great job here, and I think I just kept it together.

This song’s called ‘Kroz Planine’ (Through the Mountains). It’s a Croatian folk song that translates something like this:

Through the mountains and hills, I will spend my youth time, I will ask the cold stone if he has seen my lovely girl, Cold stone says to me: – there is you lovely girl, I go to my lovely girl and kiss her black eyes…  #ahappysong.

I have said before… “Singing, making a noise… what’s it all about… expression?
Have you ever overheard someone singing their own song as they casually walked down the street?
Compare this with the routine recitation of a prescribed composition. The true expression of a feeling, often with a subconscious root, is what it’s about, I think. Rather than trying too hard to tick all the right boxes – just let it out? Relax and express yourself… words, sounds, notes and Musical Direction* are a great help.

Essentially, on a Monday night in Melton, Global Harmony just sing for pleasure, with no specific pressure to “perfect it”. OK, yes, there is gentle pressure to polish off a few rough edges and remember to ‘listen’ so that we’re realise we’re part of a bigger whole, but first let’s just pull the treasure from the ground, polishing the diamond is an ongoing affair.  Our *Musical Director Liz takes us all over the world with a variety of cultures, languages, and rhythms. Liz’s encouragement and enthusiasm is infectious and we are privileged to benefit from her dedication.

If you’re interested, there’s more here: ‘good old sing’ 

You can see some clips of the Choir’s smaller group ‘Close Harmony’ here:

If you fancy joining Global Harmony give it a go! The main choir can be found here:



Harmony, both close and global…


A little update on the choir that I sing with. They’re a fine bunch of folk!

This year will be my 8th Christmas concert with Global Harmony in Melton.

The Christmas concert in St Mary’s Melton is always a treat for the senses and we hope this year will be similarly so. Visit the GH website to find out more!

ghchristmas2016a4Global Harmony is a mixed a cappella World Music Choir based in Melton Mowbray, UK. We’re are enthusiastically led by Musical Director MD Liz

It’s Community Choir, a friendly and informal group who have fun singing a wide range of unaccompanied harmony songs from all over the world. We enjoy rhythms from Africa, stirring Eastern European harmonies, songs from the Southern Seas and the Americas, soulful gospel and blues to name but a few – as well as traditional folk and rock and pop from our own culture.

Close Harmony

In addition to this, the choir has a small extra group called Close Harmony.

Close Harmony is a singing group are made up of a dozen singers from the main choir again led by the ever-encouraging MD Liz.

You can see some clips of Close Harmony here:

The main choir can be found here:

And a few recordings can be found here:

There are a few of my other posts here:










We Sang for Hope…

2014-11-15“What a fantastic evening!” That’s what I keep hearing from people.

And yes, that’s what it was for me. An evening filled with unexpected triumphs!

A few tweets:

“Wow!!! What an incredible night!! Thank you to everyone for being there. Totally brilliant.”
“What an incredible performance!! So proud!!”
“What a FANTASTIC thing @WeSingforHOPE surprised by a fantastic experience! Haunting Infectious Beautiful more more…”
“What a fantastic fantastic fantastic evening! #singforhope #fantastic”
“We’re gonna sing our socks off! #globalharmony #singforhope

Together with just under half of Global Harmony Choir, I ventured forth to St James the Greater in Leicester for “Sing for Hope” a Community Choir Challenge in aid of local charity Hope Against Cancer.

Nobody quite knew what to expect, this is not something we have done before and as an extra to our scheduled performances we hoped we could put on an appropriate show. With the show’s 500 seats sold out, the venue of St. James the Greater Church was one of the most resounding spaces we’ve been to.

2014-11-15 17.09.22-1As you may know we are an a cappella community choir that aims to truly sing from the heart and as such we don’t use sheet music in practice or performance. Perhaps we learn by trying to ‘becoming the sound’ after repetitively ‘sharing’ the parts, (see Natural Voice Network  for more info) as they say “celebrating the voice you were born with, rather than trying to train it to an ideal of perfection”.  And so faced with fellow choirs with sheet music in hand I wondered if we were a tad out-of-place. The word ‘choral’ was being repeated… is that us?

Any fears we may have had were unfounded. The evening was filled with diversity and variety – perhaps that’s what community choirs are about; a conduit where people from all backgrounds, choirs and stages of life can join together in a common practice. Yes, it was a challenge and not without worry, anxiety and apprehension as people said “what about this”, “what about that”, “i’m worried about this…”  a microcosm of life captured in an evening.

We’d practiced, we’d performed these songs before, we knew we could sing our three songs but apprehension filled the air; unknown elements, unfamiliar surroundings, seven other highly competent choirs; 200 singers and 500 spectators, and not to mention the gaze of 4 professional judges.

The other choirs put on fantastic performances from an octet to a full-bodied stage, we experienced minutiae and superlative with songs from the jolly and joyful to the cuttingly personal.

Who knows how or why but all I can say is after our performance I ‘felt’ we’d done our utmost best. Yes, it’s a personal reaction but after six years and many different enjoyable performances I have to say I have never been more proud of the choir I sing with, we did our thing, in the only way we know how. Perhaps some of the professionalism and je ne sais quois from the evening infected us, but I felt that the choir responded to our MD Liz beautifully. She helped our sounds dance with her embracing metering influence. As I say, I’ve never been more proud. Choirs: simple complex things!

A few words about the winners: Kibworth Ladies Choir performed superbly.
From a beautiful “Carol of the Bells” to a hyper-personal anxious “Creep”, their sound came out as one voice from a choir of about thirty people. A homogeneous single sound from multi-parted complex arrangements. The conductor did so much more than conduct. It seemed her voice came out of the choir! I would look our for concerts by these ladies in the future!

2014-11-15 20.57.45-3

Thanks Global Harmony !

…and thanks to The Spectaculars from Burton Overy,
The Willow Singers from Blaby,
Humberstone Choral Society,
The Foxton and Gartree Community Choir,
Kibworth Ladies Choir,
The Vale Choir from Rutland, and
Dunton Bassett Community Singers.

And thanks Helen Alloway! …as judge said Ken Burton said ‘genius’!


…back to school…

This week I went back to primary school.

A few dozen members from the choirs Global Harmony and Woven Chords, along with our MD Liz, were privileged to be invited to the Sacred Heart Catholic Voluntary Academy in Leicester. The aim was to share songs from around the world and share the experience of singing expressively and in multiple parts.

What an experience and a privilege. I tweeted during the day “What a FANTASTIC buzz!”  I found the 400 children’s response to the choir’s performance in the morning assembly astonishing. Rarely do adults show such truthful wonder and enjoyment. Our organised, expressive, layered compositions were possibly usurped by the honest enthusiastic pleasure that the children expressed in return – what a BUZZ!

I joined Tina and Frances to share with a class of 5 year-olds.  The experience of ‘showing’ young children forms of singing and making noises with the voice was enlightening. Such enthusiasm and willingness to create, priceless moments.

At one point I tweeted “Energy needs application, discipline and observation…”. For me personally; I was reminded at one point that expression and communication needs form, structure and discipline if it is to have a place in a organised community.  Tweet “Hence community is important… Easier said than done?”

Tweet “What an experience, singing with a Leicester primary school #talkaboutenergy!”

I think the day was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by many! It’s hard to put a finger a single thing to take from the day because it was rich in emotion, ideas, and honesty.

Some raw recordings (from a phone in my pocket)…

Chaotic kids pre-muster: gathered in the hall…

Many thanks to fellow choir members Tina and Frances for their enthusiastic planning and support!

A classroom rehearsal: “One Morning Soon / Angels” a traditional American gospel song

A classroom rehearsal #toocute “Oo a lay lay” This is a traditional echo song from Polynesia

A final performance: “One Morning Soon / Angels” a traditional American gospel song

Check some other classes’ songs here:

Great day!


Seasonal Sounds 2013…

If you enjoy a little advent-urous, a capella, acoustics – a date for your diaries:
Saturday 14th December – Melton, St. Mary’s…


Flyer image can be shared found here: GIF or PDF  – do share!
Pies and wine too, all in a good cause!



Half of the choir {Global Harmony} had a delightful evening overlooking Rutland Water on Friday night.

We sang a dozen songs in a splendid garden in Manton, at then culmination of a safari supper.

Here’s just a snippet: 3 Songs from Africa – (it’s a poor recording on a mobile-phone but better than nowt)

Senzenina (starts 1min 22secs in) is a favourite of mine – (with me on the call and the choir doing an elevating job of swelling the melody ) – I love this song.

It featured in the mediocre film ‘The Power of One’, as part of an excellent sound track. The film is an adaption of IMHO a great 1989 novel of the same name by Bryce Courtenay . This book is on my personal top ten of influential novels.

Interestingly the lyrics of this version of  Senzenina translate to: What have we done? Our sin is… What have we done?

My sentiments exactly.


and another…


Global Harmony & the Rutland Ospreys

Time flies! …as do ospreys! A few weeks ago now we (Global Harmony) had a fantastic evening with the Rutland Osprey Team at the concert A Musical Migration and here’s 2 clips from the evening. #keepsinging

A song from France (The ospreys fly over France) an arrangement of a French song “Tourdion”

And if you’re on facebook here’s another clip:  “Calon Lan” (from Wales of course)

Form more info on the Rutland Water ospreys (now with eggs!!) check out their website:

Also here’s some recent clips from “Close Harmony” –  a small group from the main Global Harmony choir.



Close Harmony at Stathern – (WI Cakes, yum!)

Close Harmony – released on an unsuspecting audience yet again!
A concert for the collective Belvoir Group Women’s Institutes at Stathern Village Hall.
Close Harmony are singing group from Melton Mowbray, attached to the large a capella community choir Global Harmony.  We’re currently made up of a dozen singers led by the ever-encouraging MD Liz.

Tonight’s songs: Cancion Mixteca, Shen Har Venahi, Make Me Feel My Love, Love Call Me Home, Calon Lan, Here There and Everywhere, Happy Together, Idonga Se Jerico, Mravalzamier 4

Oh and WI cakes?! Well… sublime!

Recordings below recorded with a mobile-phone in the corner of the room – not the best but better than a poke in the eye with a stick.

Cancion Mixteca

Shen Har Venahi

Make Me Feel My Love

Love Call Me Home

Calon Lan

Here There and Everywhere

Happy Together

Mravalzamier 4

Idonga Se Jerico – sang with the WI members!

We are Sailing – sang with the WI members!


Rutland Ospreys and Global Harmony

Global Harmony joins Rutland Water Osprey Team for a very special concert.

Saturday March 23rd 7.30 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Oakham School

A very special evening of audio-visual presentations by the Osprey Tea and songs from the choir tracing the migration path of the Osprey.

Not to be missed!


All proceeds to the Osprey Fund.MusicalMigration
Tickets including refreshments available from:
Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre,
Rutland Water 01572 770651

Music and More, Oakham 01572 756578
Global Harmony 01664 562215
£15 All proceeds to the Osprey Fund.


Close Harmony…

A privilege today to be asked to sing at a wedding – such a special occasion for all involved.

Close Harmony, are a singing group from Melton Mowbray, attached to the large a capella community choir Global Harmony.

We are currently made up of a dozen singers led by the ever-encouraging MD Liz.

Three songs from today:

Shen har venahi – Georgian song of praise

Happy together – The Turtles

Make you feel my love – Bob Dylan

Nice pint and pie in the pub after also!!