Wanted … young singers to join World Roots Choir

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Authored by Mary
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 18:52

Are you aged 13-18? Do you love to sing? Then here’s your chance!

The World Roots Choir is coming to Plymouth and Torbay – and it needs your voices.

The good news is that, unlike the X Factor and The Voice, there are no scary auditions. Just turn up … and sing. You don’t even need to be able to read music, as all the songs are taught by ear at first.

The two new ‘branches’ of the choir are being set up following the success of the World Roots Choir in Exeter. It is run by Devon-based music charity, Wren Music, who are holding their first Plymouth and Torbay sessions on Sunday 26 January (2-5.30pm) – at the Arts Centre in Looe Street, Plymouth and the Performing Arts Centre at Paignton Academy in Waterleat Road.

As the name suggests, the songs have an international flavour and a number of international guest performers are lined up to help with the coaching.

The choirs will rehearse at their local venues once a month and there will be a chance to perform together with the full World Roots Choir at major events – one is already scheduled for Exeter Cathedral in March.

The choir rehearsals are led by Wren’s musical director, Paul Wilson, and Sarah Owen, one of Wren’s professional singers.

Sarah said: “We are putting out an open call for anyone in this age group who really wants to sing. They might have a background in music, or they might not. Just come along if you love music. We can work with any number of people – a small vocal ensemble up to a really large group of voices can sound incredible.

“We welcome different voices and encourage everyone to sing with their own natural voices. It’s a great chance for young people to get to grips with new vocal techniques, to really explore what their voice can do and to bring out their best voice – along with fantastic opportunities to showcase their talent.

“There is a non-competitive atmosphere,” added Sarah. “It’s really friendly, relaxed and supportive. I was talking to a teenager from the Exeter group and he said it was unique and non-judgmental.”

The Sunday afternoon rehearsals run once a month until 27th July. There will be opportunities to perform at events and festivals during that time and take part in residentials.

“We are really building on the success of the choir in Exeter,” said Sarah. “It’s been going for several years with great success - the choir has been to South Africa and Turkey and performed at the Sidmouth Folk Festival, which is a great experience for the young singers.”

Among the international vocalists who will be working with the World Roots Choir are American folk legend Peggy Seeger; Indian singer Rahi Baines; Chartwell Dutiro from Zimbabwe; Singing teacher Iliana Eva from Bulgaria, who also works with newly arrived refugees in Devon, and Wren Music’s own Rosa Rebecka, who is a singer-songwriter and teaches traditional Swedish and Yiddish songs.

Paul Wilson said: “This is a great opportunity for young people to sing songs from other cultures and other languages as well as learn music on our own doorstep.”

But the Wren Roots Music School isn’t just about singing; there are also opportunities to train up as young music leaders and run workshops, leading to nationally recognised Arts Awards qualifications.

The rehearsal dates are 26 January, 9 February, 2 March, 11 May, 22 June and 27 July – the cost is £10 per session. Residential singing opportunities are available on 17-18 February and 14-16 April. Find out more by contacting Wren Music on 01837 53754 or email sarahevans@wrenmusic.co.uk – or simply turn up to rehearsals.