Singing in Sussex: 16 of the best places to listen and take part
PUBLISHED: 11:33 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 12:38 21 February 2018
Having a good singsong and listening to singing are proven to reduce stress. Hazel Sillver suggests 16 places to enjoy both across Sussex.
Pack up the picnic hamper and the champagne – the fabulous annual opera festival at Glyndebourne runs from 20 May to 27 August 2017. Performances include the UK premiere of Cavalli’s Hipermestra, as well as Verdi’s La Traviata, Brett Dean’s Hamlet, Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, and the lyrical Don Pasquale.
Singing for the Brain, Eastbourne, Seaford, Hastings and Hailsham
This Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain group brings dementia sufferers and carers together in a friendly, fun and social environment every Monday. Based around the principles of music therapy, the sessions include a wide variety of familiar and new songs.
Hastings Town Singers, Hastings
Every Thursday evening, this choir gets together to belt out an eclectic mix of songs, including classical, pop, gospel, and swing, as well as numbers from musicals. No audition is required – just turn up and join in. The group is one of four Liberty Choirs (including a Brighton-based choir) led by MJ Paranzino, who organises singing visits to prisons and psychiatric hospitals.
Opera Group, Lewes
The NSO (New Sussex Opera) is a community-based company of professionals and amateurs who put on wonderful productions of interesting operas, especially lesser-known works. New singers are welcome and no operatic experience is necessary. In November 2017 they will perform Gluck’s Orfeo in Barcombe, Eastbourne, Brighton and Lewes.
Choral Group, Crowborough
This choral society performs two classical concerts each year, as well as a light-hearted summer concert, which this year is Midsummer Monteverdi, taking place on 24 June 2017 in Rotherfield. There are no formal auditions and newcomers are welcome to join in the Wednesday rehearsals.
Singing Group, Brighton and Hassocks
The Soul of the City choirs welcome singers of all abilities to belt out soul, pop and gospel songs at their weekly sessions (Tuesday in Brighton and Wednesday in Hassocks). The group is friendly and sociable, and usually heads to a nearby pub together at the end of each practice.
Gospel Group, Brighton
If you want to feel uplifted, have a go at gospel singing. The two choirs of this non-denominational community group rehearse once a week and put great emphasis on having fun. Enthusiastic new members of all abilities and experience are welcome. The group will be performing their Shine On concert at the Clarendon Centre in Brighton on 10 June 2017.
Ladies’ Choir, Crawley
The Songbirds is an all-female choir that performs pop music and songs from musicals. New singers – aged 18 or over – are welcome to join the troupe (which currently has 40 members) at the weekly Monday rehearsals. On 1 July 2017, they will perform at the Crawley Festival.
Enjoy Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman numbers by the Jazz Repertory Company on 26 August 2017 in Rottingdean Village Hall. Featuring the Pete Long Quintet and vocals by Georgia Jackson, the company has enjoyed sold-out performances here for the past two years.
Choral Music, Chichester
The Chichester Singers have been going strong for more than 60 years, and now perform under the direction of top composer and conductor Jonathan Wilcocks. There are more than 150 members, whose repertoire includes choral classics and contemporary pieces. Forthcoming performances in Chichester Cathedral include works by Eric Whitacre and John Rutter on 24 June and Verdi’s Requiem on 11 November 2017. New members are welcome to audition.
A Capella Choir, Westergate
Singer Emily Barden runs several community choirs in West Sussex, including an a capella group – Bellacapella – at Ormiston Six Villages Academy near Chichester every Monday. All abilities are welcome to join in with the singing, which will include pop, world, gospel and folk songs.
Singing Lessons, Hove and Steyning
Soprano Lucy Mair offers one-to-one singing lessons to all abilities, aged 11 upwards. She has a 100 per cent pass rate with pupils in ABRSM singing exams and coaches people to have a free, natural singing voice, whatever the musical genre.
South Downs Folk Singers, Lewes and Chichester
These friendly singers gather regularly at the Chichester Inn in Chichester and the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes to sing traditional folk songs that often have a seasonal theme. Newcomers are welcome to join in.
Singing Lessons, Arundel
Opera singer Jane Clarity offers singing tuition to adults and children, and performs classical, opera, folk and contemporary songs at weddings and funerals across Sussex. With a passion for the healing power of music, she also sings in rest homes and care centres.
Classical Singing Group, Petworth
The Leconfield Singers is a community choir of more than 100 voices, who perform classical songs locally and overseas. New singers are welcome to apply.
Choral Group, Steyning
The Chanctonbury Chorus singers get together every Wednesday to rehearse a big choral masterpiece, and perform with an orchestra two or three times a year. New members are welcome to join in.