Katie Pitcher: My Choir Life
Dear David, Ryan and all my wonderful musical friends,
I am truly sorry to say farewell to the NPCC; singing and performing with you is a huge privilege and heaps of fun! This choir is a massive breath of fresh air, incredibly welcoming and supportive plus a good old giggle!
I have a fairly musical background and will never feel complete without it as a part of my life. I started to learn to play the piano aged 6 and achieved my grade 8 eleven years later, just before starting university at Edinburgh Medical School in 1994. I joined a tiny church choir in 1996 then lived for the respite it gave me from my studies for a few hours each week. The reality of the strength and healing power of singing became immense when my fiancé died in 1999. The routine of singing carried me through that painful, dark and lonely time. I then joined a bigger choir, a rock-gospel group, which did large scale free concerts in Scotland and also toured Cape Town! It was when I returned from there in 2006 that my worst nightmare began. My dad was very seriously ill with motor neuron disease and died suddenly. I became clinically depressed and had to stop my work as a doctor. The music in my life went silent; I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t even stand listening to music. It was unnerving and disorientating. I had no choice but to leave Scotland and live with my mum again.
I knew that my love of music and singing would return, with the right help and enough time the tunes came back and I found my voice again. I was living back in Plymouth and the choir on my doorstep was the large, imposing and very serious Plymouth Philharmonic Choir. It was technically very demanding music on a grand scale and I really loved the buzz I got performing with them. BUT that was only 3 times a year and the choir didn’t really ‘do fun’ in rehearsals, plus it cost a lot of money per term and for what?
My friend Emma Higgs mentioned that she had started off a choir in North Prospect, a long way from where I lived. I continued to put up with the PPC but my husband got tired of my moaning and challenged me to make a change or shut up! It was quite daunting to let go of the prestige of the PPC and travel across town to meet new people, but I am SO GLAD that I dared. From the moment I arrived there were laughs and friendly faces. Emma had created an atmosphere free of judgement which encouraged anyone to have a go, so I did! I tried for a solo part for the first time ever and will always remember being Cosette and singing ‘Castle on a cloud’ from Les Misérables. Thank you Emma, I can sing it still.
As David’s blog explained, Emma moved away and she passed on her choir to him, entrusting her creation to another and he has not only kept it safe but nurtures and grows it too. I am extremely grateful for the leadership given by him, Ryan and the committee. You are a stunning team and choose fabulous music to learn and perform. I am very grateful to have been a part of it all, even if only for a couple of years.
I’m also grateful for being introduced to such lovely people who I look forward to meeting every week, you make it what it is as well. It just gets better and better.
To anyone considering having a go at singing, please try this choir! The confidence and joy to be found is unmatched.
It is free for the first week and then only £3 for each week you sing, or £2 for concessions. Bargain!!!!
By Katie Pitcher,
Friend and former member of The North Prospect Community Choir