Sunday, September 28, 2008

Should singing together be a guilty pleasure?

Imagine going to Soho with a group of like-minded friends and gathering in a dimly-lit, subterranean private room with plush seats and stylish decor. Fully kitted out with all the necessary equipment along with a comprehensive cocktail menu, this should be a night to remember! It’s not cheap mind, and you might not want to tell all your mates where you’ve been or what you’ve been up to, even though it’s all perfectly legal and above board.

And what is this secret, guilty pleasure? Why, singing together of course!

Welcome to the world of Lucky Voice:

“the most liberating, heart racing, life-affirming social singing experience on earth.”

Founded in 2005 by Martha Lane Fox (of fame), their

“glamorous bars have allowed groups of friends to sing their hearts out in the luxury of their own private rooms.”

I stumbled across Martha talking about Lucky Voice on the radio last week. She was saying that there were few opportunities these days for people to gather together and sing. Gone are the days of community sing-alongs and families gathered around the piano at home. Gone are the days when there was a large repertoire of songs with lyrics and tunes that everybody knew and could sing together.

Instead we have karaoke! But even then many people are embarrassed to sing in front of strangers, so Lane Fox has imported an idea from Japan and set up private booths where you can sing your heart out (after a few drinks to loosen up the inhibitions) with only your nearest and dearest as audience. What a sorry state of affairs!

Perhaps we don’t sing together as readily as we did in the past (see Singing from the same hymn sheet and Singing together), but there are plenty of other opportunities to sing together in this country which aren’t expensive and which celebrate a sense of community and inclusivity rather than clandestine, exclusive gatherings. I mean, of course, the thousands of choirs and singing workshops across the UK.

However, these choirs and workshops still don’t generally attract a true cross-section of society. Many choirs have an ageing membership and it’s still hard to recruit men. I want to look at what might be preventing people from joining choirs and singing workshops in my next post.

go to Chris Rowbury's website

Chris Rowbury


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