Join ‘Carleton Ladies Choir’

Fun, Friendship & Singing

Carleton Ladies Choir came to be in 2012 – a small group of friends from the ‘Carleton Monday Club’ learning to sing together. I have had the pleasure of being the group’s Musical Director since 2013, during which time the choir has more than tripled in size – we’re now a much larger group of friends, some who have known each other for many years, and many who have gotten to know one another much more recently through participating in our group’s musical and social activities. Through a shared love of singing our members create lifelong bonds – chatting, eating and drinking together, laughing, and even holidaying with one another… and, yes, singing together too. Every time I hear about members planning to meet up for a coffee or go to the theatre together it reminds me that our choir is about so much more than just making music!

Carleton Ladies Choir performing with the Craven Accordion Orchestra

Thursday evenings at Carleton Village Hall

Our rehearsals take place every Thursday evening from 7:30pm until 9pm, at the Village Hall in Carelton-in-Craven, right opposite The Swan pub. Most weeks after rehearsal some of our members (and me) go on to the Carleton Social Club for a drink or two, and some more socialising. We also have a monthly tea break, on the first Thursday of each month, when we split our rehearsal in half and have a stop in the middle for drinks and chatting. This is a really good opportunity for choir members to meet and make friends with people who are not in their section (who they don’t usually sit near during the rehearsal).

Singing is for Everyone!

Too many people believe that they can’t sing. Maybe they were once told that they sing “flat”, or perhaps they’ve just convinced themselves that they have an awful voice. In fact, absolutely everybody can sing – I should know – I’ve been teaching singing for many years! We all have our own unique, distinctive instrument that we carry around with us everywhere we go. All we need is a little courage to let it out. The good news is that in choirs there’s safety in numbers – nobody is ever pressurised to sing on their own in Carleton. If you want to, you can come along and just blend into the background.. but I hope that with time you’ll come to realise that your voice is just as nice as everyone else’s.

We’re a fully inclusive, community choir. That’s why there’s no audition or ‘voice check’ to join us. We welcome absolutely every female voice, and value everybody’s unique contribution. Our choir is split into three main sections : Sop 1’s (Sopranos), Sop 2’s (Mezzos) and Altos (Contraltos), and the section you’re in is determined by how high or low your voice is. People who have sung in choirs before might be pretty confident about which section they belong in, but many people who come for the first time simply don’t know. If you like, I can help you to figure out your vocal range by doing a few quick singing exercises with you. But, if you prefer, you can just join one of the three sections and move yourself later on if you feel you would be better placed somewhere else in the group.

Lots of Different Music

Each year we put on a late summer concert (in aid of a local or international charity), and involve ourselves in as many other events as possible to maximise the opportunities for our group to perform together. Over the past decade these have included many other charitable occasions such as performing with the Craven Accordion Orchestra in aid of Sue Ryder, and singing in the foyer of Morrison’s supermarket to raise money for their community based charitable venture, The Morrison’s Foundation. We perform at lots of community events in Carleton and the wider Skipton area. Most years we sing at the Carleton Harvest Home event at the beginning of October, and complete our year with the Christmas Eve service at St Mary’s Church in the village. In previous years we’ve also competed in some of the best known local music festivals : The Skipton Music Festival and The Colne Luther Greenwood Festival. We enjoy singing for weddings, Christmas events and supporting the senior citizens in our area by giving short concerts in local care / residential homes. Hasten to add, there’s always lots going on!

In terms of repertoire, our members enjoy an eclectic array of music. In recent years we’ve been kept busy preparing songs for the various themed revues that have been held in the village, covering the decades from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. We perform arrangements of more recent popular music, having covered songs by Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams, Westlife, Cyndi Lauper, and Take That… to name just a few. Some of our favourite songs come from musical theatre and, again, over the years we’ve performed songs and medleys from lots of West End shows, including Les Miserables, Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera, Calendar Girls, The Greatest Showman… and many, many more! We also dip into some of the more traditional choral repertoire and particularly enjoy the music of John Rutter.

How to Join Us

If you are interested in joining our choir, you can come along for a couple of taster sessions without any charge or commitment. Just contact me using THIS FORM or by ringing / texting / WhatsApp’ing me on 07746637472.

Thereafter, if you decide to become a member of our group you will be welcomed as a new friend. Members are encouraged to attend as many rehearsals as possible but, unlike many other choirs, they are not obliged to meet a quota of rehearsals per year. We set up a Zoom call nearly every week so that members who can’t be with us in person (perhaps due to illness or trips away) don’t have to miss out – they can join in ‘virtually’, singing along with the rehearsal from the comfort of their own living room.

There is a small sub that covers the choir’s costs, including the room hire and our accompanist – Peter Gunn, and members usually pay this by monthly direct debit. All sheet music, folders etc are provided to our singers – you don’t need anything except yourself and a pencil!

What other choirs are there in Skipton?

If our choir isn’t the right one for you, you might consider joining one of the other choirs in the Craven area, of which there are many. Below is a little list for you to check out:

  • Sing Out South Craven!
    • This is a mixed voice choir based at the Glusburn Institute. They rehearse on a Wednesday evening from 7:30pm until 9pm, and I am the Musical Director.
  • All Together Now
    • Connected to choirs in Baildon, Bingley and Harrogate, all run by Chris Kemp, this group meets on Thursday mornings at the Methodist Church Hall on Duckett Street in Skipton.
  • Cononley Singers
    • A four part (SATB) group, directed by Tony Hamilton. They rehearse on Wednesday evenings at the Cononley Institute.
  • Just Sing
    • A community singing group based in Skipton.
  • KVU Singers
    • The ‘Keighley Vocal Union’ is a mixed voice group that was established in 1906. Their rehearsals take place at St Stephen’s Church in Steeton on Wednesday evenings.
  • Sheeptown Songsters
    • A natural harmony group who practise at the Quaker Meeting House in Skipton on Wednesday evenings.
  • The Skipton Choir
    • This is a mixed voice choir run by my friend David Weale. The meet on Monday evenings at Skipton Girls School.
  • Skipton Choral Society
    • Meeting at Christchurch in Skipton on Monday evenings, members need some basic understanding of how to read music.
  • Voices of Yorkshire
    • One of a group of seven choirs. There’s no music reading required: the songs are usually arranged in 3 parts with a melody and two harmonies.

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