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16 October 2014

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Sea of Smiles

By Leanne Morgan
October 2007, Maesteg
A digital story from Capture Wales

"In the 21st century what does an ordinary 23 year old girl do with her time? Pole- dancing? Or how about singing in a choir? Well I do both but one is only after huge amounts of alcohol. I'll let you judge which!

Choral music is still a strong tradition in my home town Maesteg. There are several choirs even in our small community but I belong to the new all-female choir called Harmony. I joined this choir a year ago because it was different. I mean we don't even have a conductor and the age ranges from 17 to 70, so we sing traditional acappella music, pop songs, gospel and songs from the musicals.

We recently had our first annual concert. I was so nervous; especially since I had been roped into a solo but when I saw the sea of smiles and a sell-out concert the feeling was indescribable. The years work was worth every second.

This choir is more than just coming together to sing - we are a group of friends.

At practice you never know what to expect - like flashing frilly knickers from Marks and Spencers!

We socialise outside of choir and wherever we go we have to have our sing song or failing that, Norma will always be there ready and willing to sing Buddy Holly.

Each member is a quirky character. Shan is the Joker of the pack, Janice is the chairperson and therefore the Queen bee and Wendy our Musical Director is our Ace!

I love to sing and in doing so I feel that I am helping to preserve a very important Welsh tradition.

The best thing about a mixed age choir is we can preserve the traditional past and yet change the stereotype. Our aim is to bring choir singing up to date and to make sure that it is enjoyed for future generations."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 23 and I am currently studying an Upper Primary PGCE at Swansea Institute. In my spare time I like to go out with my friends, play squash and of course sing in a choir called Harmony.

What's your story about?
This story is about the choir Harmony and the benefits of singing in a mixed age choir that sings a variety of different genres. I chose this story because I wanted to show that other people choose to sing in choirs other than the stereotypical church - goers. It can be a hobby for everyone.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The techniques that were used to get us started in storytelling. I think I would like to introduce these concepts in a primary school environment. I also found that the people were so understanding and patient that it was hard not to pick up tips about the technology side of the workshop.

Your comments

"Leanne, I love you, you're a fantastic young person. I enjoy your company both in choir and out socialising. I love this story, it's so true. Yes, we do have fun, and it's cured my empty nest syndrome. I am so glad I joined, it's been fantatic. It makes me think I have missed so much being stuck at home all these years. I wish I had joined before. I just love learnig all the songs and going out and bringing so much enjoyment to other people. Clever girl." Kerry Joshua, Port Talbot.

"This is a very educational video. It is good for people to have a laugh and if you like a bit of humour." Ben Tadpole from Victoria.

"I enjoyed the story. It is an interesting way of presenting the choir. You have a good sense of humor and the music went well with the story. This story reminded me of when I was in High School and how much I enjoyed being in the choir. " Mary Wall from Wheatley Ontario.

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