With over 100 members, SoundSational are one of Scotland’s largest community choirs. Everyone’s welcome – there’s no requirement to read music, no auditions and over 80% of members have never sung before.
“SoundSational Community Music is about using the arts to bring people together and to encourage community cohesion and social inclusion.” Tommy Chambers, SoundSational choir leader and pianist
Sharing a musical background, a passion for the benefits of singing and a desire to do something that would have a positive impact on their community, Tommy and Jen founded SoundSational in 2010. They began by renting a small premises for the choir to rehearse but interest became so great that they found themselves looking for a larger permanent base. Tommy and Jen now have a custom-built centre where the choir can rehearse, relax and feel at home.
Funding from the National Lottery goes towards the cost of renting premises. Members pay a monthly fee and everybody is expected to muck in with duties such as cleaning to keep the running costs down. The choir have also been known to participate in the odd flashmob at a wedding or movie premier to provide a bit of extra income!
The choir grew very quickly at the start and the biggest challenge was getting their new premises – a unit in an industrial park – ready with very little money. Everyone pulled together and as luck would have it members of the choir had a whole host of skills, from builders to interior designers. They now have 2500 square foot of performance space and recording studios.
“It’s great to be here at the centre, knowing we all made this pretty much with our own hands!” Jen
Finding enough money and time is another challenge Soundsational constantly face but having two people to run the choir really helps, it means there is always someone there to support and help with the workload.
The choir have gained a great reputation and as a result get invited to sing at special occasions, often singing their own arrangements. Soundsational perform over 40 times a year at weddings, flashmobs, corporate events and were even the opening act at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro. They have performed at shows for Real Radio, The Scottish Charity Awards and the BBC.
Nine tutors (some of whom are industry leading pros) work with the choir and in five years Soundsational have helped to raise over £400,000 for charity.
SoundSational is buzzing when Big Big Sing visit and it’s obvious how much everyone enjoys being part of it. A lot of the members are from disadvantaged backgrounds and the choir provides them with somewhere safe and welcoming to come.
“Watching everyone’s confidence grow week-by-week has to be one of the best things about this ” Tommy
Find out more about SoundSational on their website.