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Free event to get Ilkley singing

Local chamber choir Cantores Olicanae are well known in Ilkley for their concerts, with numerous plaudits for their ambitious and entertaining performances, and this Saturday will be hosting a free workshop.

Last year saw the choir return from their Covid-induced hiatus with a bang, not least when they hosted over 160 singers from across the North in a day of singing with composer Bob Chilcott.

Now, as part of their mission to make choral singing accessible to all, the choir have announced a special one-off workshop to give people of all ages the opportunity to sing in harmony. Anne Lowe,

The choir’s Chair, explained: “Cantores Olicanae has always been a warm and welcoming choir. But even if you already sing a little, taking that step to sing in harmony for the first time can be daunting. So whether you already sing in a choir and want to build your confidence, or whether you’ve only sung in the shower, this workshop is for you. And because of the generous support we’ve received from Ilkley Town Council, it won’t cost singers a penny!”

The free three-hour workshop will take place on Saturday 25th February at Ilkley Grammar School, starting at 10am, led by the choir’s Musical Director, Charlie Perry and accompanied by popular local pianist Robert Sudall. Having been appointed in 2020, Charlie was only able to start properly working with the choir when they returned to performing in late 2021. Despite this delay, Charlie is fast gaining laurels for his work with the choir, as well as his engaging programmes.

Commenting on why he was so keen to host this workshop, Charlie said: “I truly believe there is a choral singer in all of us, and I just want to give everyone in Ilkley the opportunity to experience the joy of singing in harmony, in a fun and supportive atmosphere. I’ve got lots of entertaining exercises up my sleeve to get everyone warmed up and joining in. We’ll also be learning some songs from around the world. I won’t spoil any surprises, but I’m confident that everyone will leave with a smile on their face, proud of what they’ve achieved as a group.”

Singing has surged in popularity in recent years, with around 2.8 million people in the UK now a member of a choir. Research has found that choral singing can result in significant social,

psychological and health benefits, particularly in terms of breathing, posture and muscle tension. It can also increase wellbeing as people gain confidence in developing a skill within a supportive social group.

Anne agrees that Ilkley is in a great position to take advantage of this phenomenon: “The number and breadth of choirs in Ilkley is incredible. There is literally a choir for everyone, whether that’s a classical choir like Cantores, pop and rock choirs, community choirs, church choirs or youth choirs. Our hope is that this workshop will inspire new singers to join a local group, and more experienced singers to seek further opportunities to sing in harmony and develop their choral skills.”

A free place at the workshop can be reserved by visiting and searching for ‘Cantores Olicanae’ or by phoning Helen Martin on 07960 124484.


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