Singing if the Afternoon is becoming a popular weekly hobby for retired people across the West of England as the Good Afternoon Community Choirs become one of the largest and most popular singing groups in the West of England.
The choirs start back singing again in September.
Bath-based choir leader Grenville Jones had the idea for these daytime groups 12 years ago. He is one of the best-known choir conductors in the UK and recognised, that for many people, getting to an evening choir rehearsal caused problems, especially on cold dark winter nights.
“I was told that in some European countries singers, when they reach 65, automatically move from evening choir to join a daytime choir. That prompted me to first launch the Bath Good Afternoon Choir myself in Bath. That was 12 years ago and by the end of this year we will have 26 across the West of England from Gloucester to Cornwall with over 1,000 people Singing in the Afternoon.
“There are no auditions involved and many folk are singing in a choir for the first time,” says Grenville, who still takes four of the Good Afternoon Choirs himself each week. He employs 20 talented freelance musicians who either lead the choirs or are the accompanists.
The choirs are in Bath, Devizes, Bristol, Thornbury, Yate/Chipping Sodbury, Keynsham, Frome, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Wells, Yeovil, Truro, Falmouth, Cheddar Valley, Cirencester & Stroud, Taunton, Malmesbury, Norton Radstock, Swindon, Salisbury. Starting in September are Chippenham/Calne, Newquay, Bridgwater, Weston Super Mare and Mid-Devon.
As community choirs they each chose a local deserving organisation to support with fundraising and concerts. Since starting back after Covid restrictions were relaxed they have raised over £13,000 which has been distributed across these groups; A Life for a Cure, Springboard Opportunity Group, JIGSAW Thornbury, Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance, Great Western Air Ambulance, Dementia UK, Southwestern Air Ambulance Charity, Wells in Bloom, Keynsham & Saltford Dementia Action Alliance, Peggy Dodd Centre, Julia’s House Children’s Hospice, Freewheelers Blood Bikes, Refugee Aid from Taunton, Children’s Hospice South West, Sue Ryder, The Space, Prospect Hospice, Longfield Hospice and Salisbury Hospice.
Full information on choir rehearsal days, venues and times are listed on www.goodafternoonchoir.org where each choir has an individual page.