Member News

If you’ve ever been to one of our services, you may have heard some music and singing coming from your left side (or somewhere else on the screen if you were on Zoom!) That sound is us, the SWESRS Choir, adding some lovely music to enhance the text in the prayer book on a Shabbat morning. However, if you’ve watched us sing for a number of years, you may also have noticed the number of members has been on the decline. Some have left as they’ve moved house/synagogue and some have sadly passed on (z’’l). On top of that, there’s been very little in the way of managing to recruit new choir members from amongst this community.

For years, recruitment of SWESRS Choir members had thrived off of simple word-of-mouth referrals, existing members bringing people into the choir who are simply ‘close by’, their friends, significant others or just other people they know. We believe that can still apply today in some capacity. However, in reality, it can no longer be the only way to encourage people to join us.

So we wanted to reach out directly to you, yes, you who is reading this right now. Can you hold a tune? Good! Please read on!

We know for a fact there is hidden singing talent in this community. One of those talented people is quite possibly YOU! We at the SWESRS Choir are always on the lookout (or “hear-out”) for those amongst you who can sing and warmly invite the community to join and sing with us. We want to be able to continue providing the beautiful music you hear at SWESRS services but can only do this with your help and voices!

We want you to become part of this choir which in a sense, is its own little community, within a community, albeit not isolated. We are open to all ages and abilities and are one of the most widely recognised choirs across the Reform Jewish community after more than 60 years of singing.

Some reasons you may have thought of not to give it a go could resemble one of the following:

You may think  - “My voice isn’t good enough”

We say  - If you don’t try, you’ll never know for sure! We would love to have you come down to an open rehearsal and try it out. You may surprise yourself, and us! We know a chorister when we hear one. Also, practice makes perfect!

You may think  -“I don’t have any musical training and can’t even read music so I won’t be good enough to join”
We say  - You don’t need any! Many of our choristers, past and present, did not/do not have any formal musical training or learn to read music. But we believe the singing you hear makes that fact irrelevant. We believe there is no substitute for enthusiasm. If you want to know the secret to being able to sing without musical training, you’re more than welcome to come along to a rehearsal to see behind the scenes.

Why not come along to a rehearsal on a Tuesday simply to see how we do things? Trust us, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of joy, banter and laughter we can fit in whilst learning a bit of singing in the meantime!

The choir is a family who love to meet new people so it would be lovely to see you there!

They say  - “You only sing Jewish music”

We say  - Not quite true. In synagogue services, we do sing Jewish music. However, when there’s not a service to prepare for, we prepare for and present a concert every two years, which features a wide range of songs from musicals, pop, rock & roll and maybe the odd sneaky Hebrew one just because! There have been many choir concerts held at SWESRS throughout the years (one every two years) and we hope to hold more in the future!

This choir does two kinds of music, the synagogue side, but also the just-like-most-other-choirs-side where non-religious music is sung. We would love to prove that to you at a rehearsal sometime.

They say  - “It’s too much of a commitment”

We say – There is an inconvenient truth to be told. Being in a choir or any regular activity
does take commitment. Being there for rehearsals ensures the overall sound of the music is the best it can be when it comes to singing at a service/concert. Also, you as a chorister would be the best you can possibly be. Your ‘commitment’ to the cause will be made worthwhile when you hear the effect regular rehearsal has. One must be mindful of the fact that without choristers, there can’t be a choir. But if everyone in it devotes the required time to rehearsal and singing, the effect is obvious. You’ll sound great!

Singing something you’ve learnt from scratch has a sense of fulfilment which very little else can match. You’ll be able to congratulate yourself and say “I did that!”

They say  - “I don’t feel 100% comfortable singing due to risk of Covid”

We say  - Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to singing. Not only did it prevent it altogether for a solid 18 months, but even now, some of you will have continued to be cautious about the prospect of singing. Having said that, choirs, musical theatre and other singers/musicians are legally allowed to resume performances. To reassure you that we are still conscious of people’s personal choices and mindful of Covid precautions, our rehearsal space is large enough to accommodate singers in spaced out seating and doors/windows can be opened to maintain ventilation. Hand sanitiser is also provided.

They say  - “I don’t even know who you are!”

We say  - We always love to chat to synagogue members and have never intended to be closed off from you. We’re always around if you’d like to ask for more info about what goes on in the choir. So if you have any questions which weren’t answered here, or just want to make yourselves known to us, please feel free to make contact using the details listed just below. Ask us anything!

 

CONTACTS:
David Jacobs (Co-Choirmaster): Tel – 07756 795 860; E-mail – david@swesrs.org.uk
Andrej Lipkin (Co-Choirmaster): E-mail – lipkin_asl@hotmail.com
Judith Jacobs (Choir Co-ordinator): Tel – 07709 623 323 E-mail  - judithjacobs02@gmail.com

 In summary, without choristers, there is no choir!

Please help us to continue providing the music you love, by helping us sing the music you love. By doing so, you may love it even more!

We look forward to hearing from you, in both talking and singing terms!

David & Andrej
(Joint Choirmasters – SWESRS Choir)