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Choir rocks New Mills

Amanda Barton

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Rock Choir Anthony Clegg New Mills Selina Mills Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy New Mills Rock Choir

Rock Choir is the UK’s largest non-audition choir which has 25,000+ members across the UK. Members need no previous experience and do not need to be able to read sheet music. 

The New Mills branch of the choir has 36 members and is led by Anthony Clegg, a distinguished musician whose career has seen him performing all over the world in theatres and on leading cruise ships.

“We welcome all ages and abilities”, he says. “Most of our members are ladies aged 18 to 88, although we actively encourage and welcome male members to join; at the moment we only have one in New Mills.”

The choir sing a wide range of rock and pop songs dating back to the 60s, as well as more recent chart hits. Songs planned for this term’s repertoire include ‘California Dreaming’ and ‘Don’t’ leave me this way’. Previously the choir have sung Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ in addition to songs by Jess Glynne, Beyonce and Queen.

It’s not just about the singing, however; Rock Choir places a lot of emphasis on the social aspects as well. Member Selina Mills says “I always have a laugh, even when we’re learning challenging new songs, and leave with a smile on my face. It’s a friendly group and Anthony is a great role model for being playful and having fun.”

“The feel-good factor is really important”, says Anthony. “We always have coffee after the sessions and there’s a great sense of community. New members are often quite timid and arrive saying they’re not really sure they can sing at all. By the end of the term they’re singing in harmony and performing in concerts.”

Rock choirs often collaborate in fundraising concerts; in 2017 their efforts raised over £12,000 for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. Last year’s venues included Manchester Cathedral and the Ideal Home Show; this year sees them performing at the Manchester Marathon and the Edinburgh Fringe.  

New Mills Rock Choir meets on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 12pm at Spring Bank Arts Centre. For further information email Anthony.clegg@rockchoir.com. To sign up for a free taster session visit www.rockchoir.com.