25 July 2015 Review by Gary Hart, GScene
The Martlets Good Vibrations choir has been performing at open gardens around Brighton & Hove to raise money for the Martlets Hospice.

Simon Dack / Vervate www.vervate.comThe forty strong choir is made up of hospice patients, family members, staff and volunteers singing under the musical direction of local singer and voice coach Aneesa Chaudhry. For many members it has been a chance to find a voice they never knew they had.

For Sally Sprinthall the choir came at a time when she needed it most.  Her husband Mark had been battling cancer for 3 years, it had been a very long and sad journey for them both but the choir gave them something to feel happy about.

Sally said: “I was a little unsure at first but it turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done, as it was an amazing experience. I found that singing along with everyone else gave me such a feeling of joy, happiness and a real sense of care and support. I left the choir that day feeling so uplifted and realized that I was smiling for the first time in a very long while.”

Two of Sally’s sisters and her niece have now joined the choir.

Her sister Shirley Alston, said: “Sally joined the choir in her darkest moment, and found great comfort. For me taking part in this choir has lifted my soul, given me more confidence and put a smile on a very sad face, and since I have been singing my blood pressure has reduced so not only have my spirits been lifted my health has improved too.”

Ann Borg, Choir Coordinator at the Martlets Hospice, said: “Our choir feels like a real community with all of us coming together from such different places and on such different journeys. We have patients and carers, nurses and office staff and people with no previous connection to the Martlets at all.

“It doesn’t matter how you are feeling when you come to a rehearsal. If you are feeling happy or sad you will always feel ‘held’ by the choir. It’s the support and understanding that people give to each other which makes this a really special choir.”

Formed in March this year the hospice has been inviting anyone living locally who has ever wanted to sing to go along to musical workshops. They are always looking for new members, no experience is necessary, all you need is enthusiasm and a love of music. Rehearsals take place on Friday afternoons and Tuesday evenings at the Martlets Hospice in Hove. The choir is free to join but staff at the Martlets suggest a £3 donation per session to help cover costs.

To book your place call the Good Vibrations choir Martlets Day Services on: 01273 273400

(Photo credit: Simon Dack / Vervate www.vervate.com)

July 2015, Review by Andrew Kay, The Latest

To celebrate 18 years of singing, Brighton’s only LGBT choir (other solely gay choirs are available) gave a performance that encompassed many of their past achievements – and they did it with style! In the last twelve months the choir has almost doubled in size but this did not daunt the newer members who embraced the challenge and helped make this one of their finest hours. Under the professional directorship of the very ambitious Aneesa Chaudhry this wholly amateur choir has reached new heights of musicality – and time after time their concerts prove this. This time it was clear that they have mastered the art of singing in an almost whisper whilst staying precisely pitched and timed, they can belt it out like the best of them when required which they certainly do, but Chaudhry knows how to reign them in and keep them in line.
There are real highs in their varied programme too, an eight part arrangement of Shenandoah sends shivers down the spine, Rhythm of Life thunders ahead like a speeding train but never a run-away train and, apart from Barber’s Adagio which I did not think worked, their classical pieces have real power and quality. The two sets are balanced, with favourites from the world of pop, musical theatre and choral church music. What comes across as much as anything though is their sense of community, this choir smile as they sing – but not that fake performance grin adopted by so many. This is joy, joy from the music but also joy from belonging to something that drives them forward, forces them to seek new heights – and of course reach those heights. In response they received not one but two standing ovations! If I had one complaint it would be that accomplished pianist, Monte had to cope with a badly out of tune piano, a situation that needs to be addressed. A small quibble though for an evening of pleasure.