My husband, Ramin and myself have joined the UK Bahá’í Choir – and this weekend travelled up to Edinburgh for a full weekend’s rehearsal. We joined about 25 other choir members from all over the UK, made many new friends and caught up with friends from years ago! I was so happy to see my dear friends Carolyn Sparey-Fox and Jeremy Fox who we thoroughly enjoyed being with in Evian Summer School a few years ago. I also loved being in the beautiful new Edinburgh Bahá’i Centre!
The month leading up to the Choir weekend, we put aside time every other day to listen to and learn the songs from the Tenor CD and the Soprano CD we had burned, after downloading the songs from the Choir’s website. I was really impressed with the organisation of the website – where you can download the song-sheets and vocal tracks, making it much easier to learn. Ramin found it a bit tough as he doesn’t read music, so I gave him a few lessons and now he know how long to sing various notes! Great brain-training for him.
Even though the pieces we sang are quite different from the pieces I was teaching the choir in South Wales, I did enjoy the challenge of singing in a more classical style again. I love that point where I have warmed up and can sing more fluently, where even the high notes are easily achievable. I realised I need this kind of singing to keep my voice strong – and my mind focused. We performed seven pieces at a Musical Devotional, organised by the Edinburgh Bahá’í Community on the Sunday, including readings from the Bahá’í writings and songs from local friends (I should have remembered to have taken back a programme, as I then could have told you their names!).
The camaraderie in the choir is really wonderful. Cosma, our Musical Director and Conductor, is full of energy, smiles, encouragement and enthusiasm. His sweet analogies are adorable, and his technical knowledge and feel for the music are exceptional. He is also very patient with the various suggestions, comments and (only sometimes) complaints.
I loved the diversity of the group, there are representatives from all ages and walks of life including members who now live in the UK and come from far-flung countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe and Iran. I love that the choir sings pieces from the Bahá’i writings, but there are many members who are not Bahá’is. I love that in the morning Devotionals, there is more singing/chanting of prayers than reading. I also love LOVE love that some of the choir members are also composers who have offered their work for the choir to sing. This has inspired me to compose and arrange my music for a four part choir. So watch this space!
So, I am interested in assisting those who would like to learn the songs and sing in the Choir (We are looking for about 10 new members!) – perhaps setting up a few day or weekends in Bristol, or in Cardiff – I’m not as technically gifted as Cosma, but I have enough experience and buckets of enthusiasm to be able to conduct a choir with these pieces. I’m also able to give singing techniques and lessons in a group – which would be helpful.
So if you would like to join the UK Bahá’í Choir and live in South Wales or nearby – contact me and lets get singing! You can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org