SHYV were extremely excited to be invited to perform at the Choiroke festival again this year. Last year held at Dorking Halls, this year the festival was held in Sussex at The Hawth, Crawley, on Saturday 23rd March. Other choirs performing were Voices from the Coal Shed, Oriel High School Choir, Loud and Proud, Torch, The Local Vocals, and Divas Undaunted. The festival invites choirs to sing separately, with each other and with the audience – hence the “oke” part of the name and it’s a great opportunity for SHYV to reach new audience.
The brainchild of Kaytie Harding and organised by BRAVO Trust Fund, an organisation set up to help support and develop local talent in the local area, Choiroke has become a favourite with SHYV. They love the whole set up, from performing in a proper theatre with lighting, microphones, stage manager, sound engineers etc, to the most important thing for a young performer, singing to a large audience. The larger the platform, the more exciting and rewarding the experience!
Only 9 members of the choir were able to attend, yet they were the stars of the show. The festival opened with all choirs singing a jazz rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. This was a change to the original joint song and SHYV did not have the time to learn such a complicated song, so Kaytie suggested they opened the show with the Leonard Cohen Hallelujah and then the other choirs would come in with the upbeat jazz version. Lola therefore bravely opened the show with a beautiful solo, which became a duet as Ellie joined her in harmony. SHYV continued with the chorus and as the other song started the choir ran off the stage in great excitement at their high profile moment.
For their own perofrmance they sang three songs – Firework by Katy Perry, Hushabye Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Price Tag by Jessie J – and performed with great maturity. Hushabye Mountain become the highlight of the whole evening with amazing comments from strangers, both audience and other choirs. It was sung with such beauty, long lines and contrasting dynamics that it truly was a magical moment. The other two songs were also well received and the audience joined in the chorus for Price Tag.
At the end of the concert, SHYV joined the other choirs and audience for the big finale of Grease Mega-Mix and You Can’t Stop the Beat and we had great fun trying to follow Kaytie’s choreography. Kaytie and Louise, the musical director and producer, have so much enthusiasm and energy and we’d like to thank them for including us in their festival. We hope they will do another next year – please!