Roxane Smith leads 5 community choirs and runs workshops in drug and alcohol rehabs. Over the years she has worked with teenage groups, people with Parkinsons and school children. The nature or location of the group may change, but her fundamental mission remains the same: to make singing in harmony accessible and fun!
Roxane enjoyed singing in school choirs and studied piano to grade 8. She went on to join a group that met weekly to sing for fun for 3 years and after taking part in a project that gave her the opportunity to meet a host of top a cappella singers and workshop leaders, Roxane was inspired to set up a singing group. The rest is history!
Roxane’s community choirs are run on the principles of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network; they are open to everyone regardless of ability or experience, there are no auditions and songs are learnt by ear. She teaches feel-good songs from around the world, as Roxane puts it ‘anything with a mouthwatering harmony will do!‘
Having recently moved from a small rural town in Wales to the much larger town of Shrewsbury, Roxanne has found it extremely difficult to get the word out and gather interest for a new choir, even with the advantage of being an experienced workshop leader. Roxanne believes this is because it’s hard to find the community in a large town – people lead very separate lives and communities tend to be more transient or less established than close-knit rural villages and towns.
Roxane tells us that her work in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres is amongst her most meaningful. In 2001 she was invited to run a short singing workshop at a residential rehab centre. The benefits it brought to the residents were immediately obvious and Roxane continued to lead sessions there for 12 years.
“After a 2 hour workshop the participants feel happy and relaxed, proud of the sound they make together, and, as one participant put it, ‘more connected to the other people in the room’” Roxane
Roxane is also co-director of a ‘Sing for Water’ event in London. Each year a choir of around 800 perform to raise funds for Water Aid, to date the project has raised over £600,000.
We love that Roxane is driven by a desire to undo the lifetime of negative experiences that some people have had with singing, such as being rejected from choirs or told that they can’t sing. Keep up the amazing work Roxane!
“The weekly choir meeting on a Thursday was a wonderful safe rock for me. For two hours I could forget everything and just sing.” Choir member
“When my husband died very suddenly in 2007, the choir became one of my main supports during a very difficult period. Each week regardless of my feelings as I arrived I would leave feeling uplifted and more ready to face the rest of the week.” Choir member
Find out more about Roxane and her choirs at: