WorldSong is a mixed adult community choir formed in Coventry in 1997 by its founder Chris Rowbury as part of Coventry's Performing Arts Service (PAS). Now independent of PAS, the choir has gone from strength to strength and has grown to around 60 members. Chris handed over the choir to Una May Olomolaiye in January 2008.
Brinklow Folk Festival, 2003
We meet and rehearse every Wednesday evening at Earlsdon Methodist Church Hall, Coventry for two hours. Sessions are informal and fun, but always result in a rich and vibrant sound. We sing unaccompanied harmony songs from around the world. Our song repertoire is drawn mainly from world music and roots traditions from cultures across the globe — plus the occasional song from the British Isles!
There are no age limits in the choir: we have members in their 20s and members in their 70s. People come from all walks of life, although we do have quite a few ex-teachers and health workers who no doubt benefit from the stress-busting properties of singing! There are no auditions to join the choir and all songs are taught by ear so that we can involve as many people as possible. The choir philosophy means that the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment. We regularly perform in public to a very high standard, but again the emphasis is on choir members enjoying themselves.
Many studies have shown how singing benefits health. As well as learning songs, we always go through a physical and vocal warm-up with exercises for improving the singing voice. Breathing and stretching exercises, along with singing, all help to reduce stress and help people relax after a long day at work.
There have been opportunities to perform over the years, and WorldSong has appeared at several festivals in the region (see past concerts). However, performing is strictly optional and some people choose to simply attend each week without displaying their talents in public.
WorldSong have performed extensively throughout the region. We have performed at The Belgrade Theatre, BBC World On Your Street day, the Godiva Weekend, Coventry Caribbean Festival, Brinklow Folk Festival, Bedworth Folk Festival and Solihull Folk Club. Each Spring we have a concert in Earlsdon Methodist Church, and our Christmas concert is held at Hearsall Baptist Church. There is a list of all our upcoming concerts available on this site.
In 2005 we recorded our first CD. This was rather a nerve-wracking experience for all concerned! We spent a long Sunday in Earlsdon being recorded by local sound engineer Graham Bradshaw (who eventually managed to edit out almost all of the passing sound of cars!). It took us most of the morning before we had got used to the many microphones he used plus yards of wiring. We were beginning to fear that we wouldn't get enough songs in the bag, but after lunch we sailed through the rest, most of them being done on the first take. 2005 was a milestone for the choir with our first performance at Coventry's 800-seat Belgrade Theatre, and the recording of our first CD. You can now buy our CD through the website.