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New choir boosts singing confidence

Choir performing at a professional concert in Swansea the previous year

Choir performing at a professional concert in Swansea the previous year

Across south Wales, contemporary choirs are singing louder than the old school hymns and arias, it seems.

Bobby Cole is a Swansea-based professional musician who had a vision to “get Wales singing.” To stop the nation’s legendary voices from fading, he revamped the country’s musical conventions by creating new choir Vocal Harmony – a Welsh choir with a twist.

Uniquely, the choir learns through call and response rather than traditional score sheets. The particular line is sung, and a section repeats it until it’s stuck in their heads: a great way to improve memory and brain power, believe psychologists.

Audio expert and film music composer Bobby then records individual sections to CD’s people can listen to in their car.

The conductor of Cardiff’s Vocal Harmony Izzy Thomas said the members enjoy the alternative and casual element of call and response. “People haven’t sung since school assemblies,” said Izzy, 23. “They forget how their voices sound singing, so we steer away from the pressure of intimidating sheet music.”

Izzy, who studies a Music MA a at Cardiff University, has noticed a massive increase in her choir’s confidence since they began. “Singers are getting louder by the week!” she said, adding more bass and alto are needed to balance with the booming sopranos.

Swansea Vocal Harmony struck a chord with local singers of all ages when it began in 2012. Popularity soon expanded to Cardiff and Llanelli, and it now boasts 200 members across South Wales.Their repertoire includes songs from Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder.

“People in Wales love to sing,” said Bobby, “but don’t always love to sing the traditional choral music.”

Cardiff Vocal Harmony practice every Tuesday at 7:30 in Cardiff High School, Cyncoed, and are audition-free.

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