I have always liked singing but never felt I was any good at it. Not that this stopped me from vocalising whenever there was an opportunity, often to the bemusement of family, friends and work colleagues. But joining a choir never even entered my head. Surely, I would be turned away as soon as I opened my mouth? And anyway, I couldn’t read music, so that was that. Instead I listened to music, all kinds of music and danced. Folk dancing, ball room dancing, line dancing, rock ‘n roll, I did it all and gave it my all. Dancing made the music come alive.
And then arthritis found me, that cruel, stealthy invader of knees and feet, and gradually the dancing had to give way. I grieved for it and still do. But a friend introduced me to Celia’s Natural Voice singing group in Splott and from that first Monday morning just about a year ago I was hooked. Singing in this group warms body and soul. It is far more physical than I had ever thought it would be and just like dancing it requires concentration and careful listening. It is great fun too and I love the barmy warming up exercises as much as the communal joy when the harmonies come together and we suddenly realise we have created something truly beautiful. During the jolly coffee breaks I have got to know most of the members and nobody seems to mind when I can’t remember their names.
I must admit that I feel that I have struck gold finding the Splott Local Vocals and in particular finding Celia, this warm and witty, charismatic singing teacher who has given the proverbial Monday morning feeling a whole new meaning. I have never been part of any group that is as inclusive and welcoming as this one and I hope that many more people will be offered the opportunity to find their singing voice in a group like this. Singing makes the spirit dance and soothes the aches of the body. It ought to be available on the NHS!