By Caroline Redman Lusher, The Rock Choir
With more than 16,000 members in over 250 local communities, Rock Choir is the UK’s largest contemporary choir. This successful and sustainable family-run enterprise is helping to bring people together, make them feel good, and is raising millions of pounds for charity in the process.
It all started in 2005 when I left my job to develop my unique concept of creating a contemporary choir that welcomed everyone, with no auditions and no requirement to read music. I wanted people young and old to be able to get together in their local communities and enjoy the benefits of singing well-loved pop songs from across the decades.
With the help of £1,000 borrowed from my father, I bought a portable piano and placed a poster in a local coffee shop in Farnham, advertising the first Rock Choir session. It attracted 70 local people. Word quickly spread and within three years Rock Choir had over 3,000 members across the South East.
In 2009, the story of Rock Choir’s success attracted mass media attention and led to a record deal with Universal, and a UK-wide tour. Next came the popular three-part ITV1 programme ‘The Choir that Rocks’, which featured the team as we launched Rock Choir in Yorkshire and prepared for our first ever mass performance at Wembley Arena. Behind the scenes, we were dealing with an avalanche of enquiries from hundreds of people clamouring for Rock Choir to come to their town. Membership numbers have continued to grow and weekly sessions are now taking place far and wide.
The people’s choir
A huge part of Rock Choir’s popularity is that it brings people together from all walks of life and enables them to rediscover their joy of singing in a friendly, non-judgemental environment. Of course there’s also the thrill of once-in-a-lifetime moments, such as making a top 20 album, breaking three Guinness World Records and performing in iconic venues including Wembley Stadium, The Royal Albert Hall and the 02 Arena!
There are wider benefits too. Every year, Rock Choir’s performances raise money and awareness for hundreds of local and national charities. In 2012 alone, Rock Choir raised over £1m.
Rock Choir is getting the nation singing, inspiring happiness, positive energy and community spirit. We have created a really magical formula that works on lots of different levels. There’s no stopping ‘The Choir That Rocks!’
Has Rock Choir’s story inspired you to sing? Anyone interested in joining can try a free taster session.
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This article was originally published in the autumn 2013 edition of Enterprise, a Smith & Williamson publication.
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