The Cheat's Guide to Joining a Choir

The Cheat's Guide to Joining a Choir

The new year is a great time to join a choir - especially if your new year's resolution is to learn a new skill, socialise more or even to be healthier and happier! Starling Arts share tips on finding the right choir, settling in, finding your way musically and how best to enjoy the experience of singing with others.

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The Final Countdown: Abracadabra

Last week, the Starling Arts community had an epic week of singing and dance rehearsals, concluding with our first full run of Abracadabra by our wonderful band, made up of bass guitar, drums and two keyboards. Find out how the magic is taking shape in this week's blog post. 


The Starling Singers rehearse a Whitney Houston number

Performance rehearsals continue with members of all three Starling Arts choirs, Corvida, Forte and the Starling Singers. The show pieces are coming together really well, and the choirs enjoyed watching snippets of each others' songs at our final combined rehearsal on Thursday evening.


On Friday came one of our favourite parts of the final preparations for our productions: band call, the first day our musicians get together to rehearse the music for a show. Having rehearsed with our singers for some months using only a piano or keyboard in a small hall, the introduction of the band is like the icing on the musical cake, bringing everything together. The instrumentation adds texture and personality to the songs, bringing them to life. 

Using 'patches' from a computer plugged into our 2nd keyboard, we can achieve an array of high quality sounds played through the keys. We have a strings section, electric guitar, 80s synth bass and a brass section at the flick of a switch! 

Jen Green plays keys 2

We think our Abracadabra band are rather special. The incredible musician Jen Green has worked with Starling Arts since our very first session back in January 2010, and Abracadabra marks her 7th show with us, incredibly!  The talented Dave Holden returns for a third time to play bass with us and we’re thrilled to welcome Sam Cooper to our line-up for the first time on drums! Starling Arts' co-director Anna Shields leads the band, and can be seen here on Keyboard 1. 

Forte rehearse 'High and Dry'

We can't wait to perform Abracadabra on 6th and 7th July 2013 at the John McIntosh Theatre, London, and hope you can join us! Tickets are available from our What's On page.


Singing for Sanity

This July, Starling Arts are collaborating with Make Yourself Home, a wonderful initiaive offering to young professionals a sense of belonging in London.

Make Yourself Home founder and Forte member Laura Ahnemann talks about her love of singing, and our upcoming singing workshop, which takes place on Wednesday 10th July. Find out more here.

‘I believe I can fly! I believe I can touch the sky!’ 

 The sound track of a typical Tuesday evening.

Not only once would I cycle home, blasting out joyful songs after attending choir.

The background: I am singing in Forte, a superb performance choir in London, run by music theatre company Starling Arts.

I joined last year after watching their AMAZING summer performance and am so grateful I did. Because of three things:

First, I love singing – feeling the vibrations of my own voice tingle my nose. Breathing deeply and forming harmonies with other voices. There is just nothing quite like the orchestration of that and it regular gives me goose bumps of joy or a big sad frog in my throat. Because I FEEL the music running through me and the story of the song unfold. Music and singing is part of me feeling home in my body, mind and soul.  Some of you might go: ‘She is a bit crazy…’ – those of you who have experienced it, might describe it differently, but can relate.

Second, I love good company – When I went from being employed to being a student and had a bit more time on my hands, the first thing I did, was to look where I could sing.  Because as you now know, I love singing. I was lucky enough to somehow pass the audition for a quite prestigious and big classical chorus in London. I liked the challenge of singing with such pros and taking the stages of the Royal Albert Hall or the Royal Festival Hall. And yet, I missed connection. Connection to the people in the choir. Never was there a real opportunity to get to know someone in a silly name game or by someone introducing you to another, an odd culture in that place.

When I joined the Starlings, I found something different. No sweating in an audition. I was just welcomed and in silly name and all sorts of other games, I could quickly loosen up and meet the people of this choir, who, to my like, are all sort of in my age group, have good humour and are simply fab company, next to being great singers. You might have your own experience with finding it hard to find and stay friends in London and here was now a real opportunity.

Third, I love a bit of excitement  and challenge – To keep me sane, and feeling alive, I always need a bit of nerve tingling. Some people do life threatening stuff for that like jumping out of a plane (wouldn’t mind trying that one day, too) and being up on stage performing to an audience of curious music lovers is a really welcome and safe way of doing that for me. Another big show is coming up for Starling Arts (check it out and buy your tickets here: /whats-on/) and I’ll be listening to my heart racing before getting up on stage, where hopefully the calm of my performance presence kicks in and time stands still in awe of art.

Anyway, I am telling you about my love for singing, because I love to share good stuff with many people – the more the merrier!

And Starling Arts’ Anna and Emily are bringing their brilliant skills, fun leadership and swinging songs to the Fun and Depth programme this summer. And it is really something one shouldn’t miss out on!

Have your voice join in harmony (or  not ;) ) with others, enjoy the great company of other whole-hearted, fun people and stretch yourself a little by taking on a solo part or by simply showing up to a singing evening event. No previous experience or incredibly good singing voice  is required, just bring yourself the way you are.

When: Wednesday, 10 July 2013, 20:30

Where: St Gabriel’s Hall Boys Club, Pimlico, London

RSVP here: Let’s sing as neighbours in song

Laura, Founder - Make Yourself Home