Wanstead Rock Choir to raise the roof with feel good tunes

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 October 2016

Christina Clark leads the Wanstead Rock Choir

Christina Clark leads the Wanstead Rock Choir

Jeanette Blamire

With vocal chords well rested over summer, a 100-strong choir is set to rock it out with popular feel good songs.

Christina Clark conducting.Christina Clark conducting.

Going strong for eight years, the Rock Choir, which rehearses at Wanstead High School, Redbridge Lane West, continues to prove popular with singing fans.

The club is a branch of the UK’s largest contemporary choir, which operates in more than 320 communities.

Choir leader Christina Clark said: “The ethos of Rock Choir makes it popular: no singing experience is required, everyone is welcome.

“The belief is that everyone can sing.”

Two top 20 albums have been released by the nationwide Rock Choir, which has performed en masse at venues including The 02, the Echo Arena Liverpool and the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2011, the group was the subject of ITV’s three-part documentary The Choir That Rocks.

“There’s no audition, we won’t make them sing in front of anyone.

“It’s all in a group of like-minded people,” said Christina.

“People say, ‘I only sing in the shower’, I say that’s a good start.”

The choir leader, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music, leads rehearsals at the school on Monday evenings, from 7.30-9pm.

The first session is free but otherwise costs £10.

“People can come and have a listen, they don’t have to join in,” added Christina.

“It is very sociable, people meet up outside the choir and go on trips, they make friends.

“With just over 100 people in the choir, it’s a fantastic sound.”

The group practises contemporary feel-good and chart songs, currently learning The Beatles’ A Little Help From My Friends, with Beyonce’s Halo next on the list.

The original Rock Choir was founded in Surrey in 2005 by musician and singer Caroline Redman Lusher. She arranged to host the first rehearsal at a coffee shop and pounded the pavements with flyers to attract interest.

Hoping to fill 40 chairs, she quickly realised 70 would be needed. Today, the choir features more than 24,000 members.

Fundraising is a key part of life for members – the Wanstead branch recently helped to raise £617 for Woodford Green’s Haven House Children’s Hospice and on Saturday performed at the Woodford Festival.

Encouraging prospective members to stop by, Christina said: “The best thing is to just come along and give it a go.

“At the end of the session, most people feel quite uplifted.”

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