Wail of a time: Tonbridge’s Tuneless Choir strikes a chord

Wail of a time: Tonbridge's Tuneless Choir strikes a chord
RAISE THE ROOF: Sheena Wickenden leads the first meeting of the town’s Tuneless Choir at the Methodist Church

The initiative was launched last Thursday [February 28] at the Methodist Church on Higham Lane from 7.30-9pm – and more than 100 people turned up.

The idea of ‘singing like no one is listening’ originated in Nottingham in 2016 and there are now more than 30 choirs around the country.

Organiser Sheena Wickenden said: “The experience is unique. We sing purely for the pleasure of it – with no pressure or expectation to improve – and simply aim for everyone to leave us feeling energised and uplifted.

“Research tells us that singing in groups brings physical, emotional and social benefits, and so we believe everyone has a right to sing.”

The mother of two, who lived in Tonbridge for 12 years and works as a PA in East Peckham, had previously launched a choir in Maidstone.

‘One member even said: ‘I haven’t had a night out and had so much fun without drinking any alcohol in years’

She said: “We had one of the largest launches we’ve had for a very long time, there were 114 people not really knowing what to expect!

“After some silly warm-ups to get people relaxed we went straight into ABBA’s Mamma Mia!

“It went down so well, the atmosphere was electric, seeing people singing like no one is listening and even having a bit of wiggle.”

Other songs included The Beatles’ Help!, Tom Jones’ Delilah, Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera and The Monkees’ I’m a Believer – the session ending with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet on a String.

“All inhibitions lost, big smiles on everyone’s faces and lots of laughter when it went a little wrong in places,” said Mrs Wickenden.

“It was great to see people walking out of the church on a high. The feedback has been incredible, with some saying they had been waiting years for something like this.

“One member even said: ‘I haven’t had a night out and had so much fun without drinking any alcohol in years.’”

Registration costs £10, which includes a Tuneless songbook. The group will meet every two weeks on Thursday evenings at the church – though they may have to find a larger venue to copy with the unexpected numbers.

For more information email tonbridge@tunelesschoir.com, visit the Facebook page or go to tunelesschoir.com/Tonbridge

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