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!


“Time, ferry me down the river…”


Time, ferry me down the river,
Friends carry me safely over
Life, tend me on my journey
Love call me home.
Peggy Seeger – Love Call Me Home

The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals. Singing in front of and essentially with others can be even more rewarding.

Singing is arguably a primal action, to express oneself in song – pre-language.  It could be said that, habitual structured language might even inhibit essential expression, feeling, thought and being.

Singing requires deeper breathing. Singing can have some of the same effects as exercise. It’s an aerobic activity: more oxygen into the blood, better circulation, helps with a “good” mood.

Many studies have found that after people take part in a singing programs, over time there are significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels and that habitual singers find that singing plays a central role in their psychological health. Singing requires attention, it’s hard to worry about work or money or family problems when you’re actively engaged in singing.

The pre-language primal song of course was a group social activity – the war chant, the rain dance, singing down the mine, cries from the plantation, the pub singalong, traditional church singing, celebrations “happy birthday to you” – realisation that you are one of a group, identification, belonging, sharing…

Close&GlobalHarmonyA6In modern (or dare I say post-modern) times, yes there are many clubs, groups, and subcultures that help people to interact (the interaction between things is what makes them fecund), but the act of “really singing” goes much further towards tackling the loneliness that often comes along with our (in?)human current culture.

This week Close Harmony enjoyed an evening in Melton Library.

Close Harmony are a small singing group from Melton Mowbray, made up of members of the large a capella community choir Global Harmony.

Recordings below are recorded with a mobile-phone in the corner of the room: not ideal but you get an impression…

An Thou Were My Ain Thing:

Calon Lan:


Love Call Me Home:

Cancion Mixteca:



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!


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!!


No Crust Coconut Pie

Our choir, Global Harmony, sings a ‘warm-up’ song about Coconut Pie.
This is the pie, thanks to Mary – with my added twists.

4 eggs
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar – I’ve reduced the amount of white and added some soft brown sugar and tangy honey also!
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 cups milk
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
and I’ve added a teaspoon of ginger.

Mix all together. Pour into 10- inch buttered dish. Bake at 180 C / 350 F for 50mins. approx.

It’s NOT supposed to look like this, but it tastes goooooood!