WEP: How did you become a Regent’s Park Singer?
Carol: I joined a yoga class run by West Euston Partnership and met Diana Young, who told me about the choir.
WEP: What is your favourite music?
Carol: I enjoy all types of music – each has something different to offer.
WEP: What are your memorable moments with Regent’s Park Singers?
Carol: The first ‘live’ performance: a mix of outright fear and excitement – and helping to organise our first music workshop.
WEP: Do you recommend singing for wellbeing?
Carol: Apart from the camaraderie, I tell anyone who will listen that if you are asthmatic, singing is one of the best therapies for exercising the lungs.
Every Sunday I followed my dad to church and I became a part of that community. I was an altar boy and my dad so loved my enthusiasm and involvement with our church activities, shortly after he also joined the church choir and brought with him his great musical talent. He plays the Hawaiian steel guitar, the Spanish guitar (with mucho gusto!) and taught himself to play the piano.
Our home on a Sunday was filled with the sound of dad’s music on the Hawaiian steel guitar and harmonica. Playing in the background was his collection of Jim Reeves records, which for years after have echoed in my ears and mind. I never played an instrument or even a note as I felt I couldn’t match his outpouring of musical talent which filled our home with so much warmth and love.
I eventually found my singing voice in the church choir. Though I was an amateur and lacked confidence, dad gave me his full support and he was proud that one of his offspring shared his love and appreciation for music. Today he still leads in his church choir and band, rejoicing in music and song!
That was the start of my singing journey. High school offered new opportunities to sing, which I gravitated towards like a fly to a candle. I embraced every moment of my music lessons. I excelled at the recorder and joined the school choir which became a unit of a larger National Schools choir. We explored and learned every genre of music under the sun: the classics to Baroque, gospel, contemporary, pop, rock, folk, reggae, international standards, African… the list was endless. Our school choir gained recognition and honours at home in Jamaica and abroad, touring the Caribbean and further afield in North America.
By the time I got to university it was natural that I would join the University Singers, where I became a star tenor in our performances.
We toured and sung our own renditions of all-time favourites; we learned different cultural expressions of song and experienced the unique souls of the communities we met along the way, as we all shared our different stories and experiences in this beautiful journey of song.
I come from Italy and I moved to London in October 2015. When I arrived I didn’t have a job and so I spent most of my time in Camden Library browsing through job search websites, when I came across a flyer for West Euston Partnership offering free career advice and the chance to join Regent’s Park Singers. It had always been my dream to sing in a choir and in English; however, in the small Italian city where I come from the only choirs available are those organised by churches and parishes, with a religious repertoire. I wanted to sing pop songs. So I decided to have a go – I thought it could be a chance to make my dream come true and to socialise.
the choir was not just about singing; I started to feel a sense of belonging and being part of a group made me feel more confident and less of a ’foreigner'
I started attending the sessions on Mondays and I really liked it for many reasons: I really like the songs we sing; I think Clive is a great teacher and I feel the atmosphere among us is very friendly and inclusive.
As more time passed the choir became an activity I couldn’t do without; singing became a way for me to relax, have fun and even cheer myself up through a tough period, as my first months in London were actually quite a tough experience. For me the choir was not just about singing; I started to feel a sense of belonging and being part of a group made me feel more confident and less of a ’foreigner’. Actually, singing in the choir has also been a nice way to practise and improve my English and pronunciation! Being in the choir brought me happiness.
Because it’s not a professional choir and we don’t perform often (which I like) it’s more about having fun. My memorable moments are random occasions, mainly on our Monday sessions, when out of the blue we perform a song in unexpected harmony and our voices come out so beautifully that I get great vibes. However, I remember a time last November, when we were rehearsing before a performance for a charity event, there were many of us and we were all very excited. The chosen songs were also great. I think the rehearsal went so well I felt touched by the grace and the effort we put into it. The actual performance wasn’t great, but I felt we were a very harmonious choir during the rehearsals.
For all the above mentioned reasons I’d recommend singing to anyone: it does have a number of benefits and we say in Italy canta che ti passa! It means ‘sing and you’ll forget about problems and any difficult or sad situation’.