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Rock Choir - Join the club

PUBLISHED: 12:23 02 November 2011 | UPDATED: 16:07 20 February 2013

Rock Choir was founded in Farnham (Photo: Pete Gardner)

Rock Choir was founded in Farnham (Photo: Pete Gardner)

Founded four years ago in Farnham, Rock Choir has become something of a national phenomenon, featuring on the likes of The Paul O'Grady Show and at GuilFest. Here, we speak to director Caroline Redman Lusher to find out more

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2009

Founded four years ago in Farnham, Rock Choir has become something of a national phenomenon, featuring on the likes of The Paul O'Grady Show and at GuilFest. Here, we speak to director Caroline Redman Lusher to find out more

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When was the group set up and why?
Rock Choir was created in 2005 in Farnham to allow the general public of all ages to learn to sing and perform up-beat contemporary music without having to audition or read music.

How often do you meet?
The rehearsals run weekly over a ten-week academic term, with three terms a year, and events and performances taking place throughout.

And do your members tend to meet socially outside the society as well?
All the time - there is a strong sense of friendship and bonding in each choir - and over the three age groups. Members often meet for lunch or supper or at each other's houses, to go over the songs, and have even been on holidays together. Rock Choir has affiliations with theatres locally and nationally and members receive fantastic discounts off theatre, show and cinema tickets.

What's the best thing about being in the society?
Rock Choir is run by professionals - a group of fantastic musicians who take care of the members as they learn to sing and take part in the shows. We all experience a huge sense of achievement, as well as a weekly rush of endorphins during and after each rehearsal.

Do you find being surrounded by like-minded individuals inspiring?
Our members are definitely inspiring. They commit to being a Rock Choir member and juggle their families, work and personal lives to attend the weekly rehearsals and events and get on stage at some enormously high profile events. New members join every term and often go from never singing in public before to singing in Rock Choir in front of thousands.

How many members do you have?
We have over 800 members rehearsing in different locations across Surrey.

What is the age range of the group?
Rock Choir Juniors is for six to ten-year-olds; Rock Choir for Young Adults is for ten to 20-year-olds; and Rock Choir for Adults is for anyone 21 and over.

Do you have links with other similar organisations around the country?
We're about to open over 60 new Rock Choirs in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, London and, of course, Surrey. New members are already joining ready
for the September 2009 start.

Has the club got any famous members?
Not any household names no, but after the Rock Choir appeared on the BBC and The Paul O'Grady Show in April, the members are experiencing local recognition whenever they wear their Rock Choir T-shirts!

What's the most interesting story from the group's history?
A journalist contacted Rock Choir to include us in a piece about singing and the credit crunch for The Times in February this year. After it was published, The Sunday Times created a full page editorial on us for their Culture magazine. Then, the BBC read the piece and asked to make a short piece about the success of Rock Choir, which was aired on BBC Breakfast during the morning of April 1, the day that Barack Obama arrived in the UK. I was interviewed live on the red couch that morning and was then called by The Paul O'Grady Show and invited to perform on the show the next week. An interesting few weeks!

...and the funniest?
At the start, four years ago, we hired an assembly hall from a private boys' school for a one-off adult rehearsal. When we arrived, all the wall hangings and expensive paintings had been covered up with cloth and most of the furniture removed. When the caretaker came to check on us - he was shocked!

The school had been expecting 'Rock Choir' to turn out in leathers and studs and potentially throw furniture around the room and destroy their expensive art work. Instead, he was confronted with a sophisticated group of adults singing Ain't No Mountain High Enough all beaming away beckoning him to join in. Rock Choir - pop, gospel and Motown singing - not thrash metal in a mosh pit!

When is your next event that is open to the public/potential new members?
Rock Choir is performing at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking on Sunday June 21 and Sunday June 28. We'll also be appearing on the main stage and second stage at GuilFest on Saturday July 11 and Sunday July 12 respectively. New members are welcome to get in touch with us via our website if they wish to join ready for the September 2009 start.

Describe your club in five words...
Exhilarating, trendy, inclusive, life-changing, fun!

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