Girton village website

Focus on Let Your Voice Play

Imagine a singing group here in Girton with no performances, where the members sing together purely for the love of it. A group that welcomes people with no prior musical experience, even when other people have told them they 'can't sing'.

Not only does the group exist, it will soon be celebrating its tenth anniversary with a special party for current and 'alumni' members. 'Let Your Voice Play' is an open group, which runs on a drop-in basis. New members are always welcome and no prior musical experience is necessary.

Kay Barrett (pictured) began the Let Your Voice Play singing group after completing a training course with pioneer 'Natural Voice' practitioner, Frankie Armstrong. The songs she teaches are drawn from a variety of cultures around the world, and also include some English folk songs. Kay explains: 'Most of the songs come from oral traditions, and so are uniquely suited to being taught by ear in the traditional way.' All the songs are sung unaccompanied, meaning the pitch can be adjusted to be comfortable for the voices present.

Each session begins with gentle physical relaxation and stretching, and breath and voice exercises, leading into fun singing games and simple warm-up songs. Kay says: 'The aim is for people to forget about the sound they are making, relax and just "let their voice play".'

Kay was inspired to work in the 'Natural Voice' style after several years of attending singing workshops with Rowena Whitehead and Sue Parlby in Cambridge. She says: 'I will always remember the first Natural Voice workshop I attended in Cambridge. It was an all-day Saturday event. The workshop leader, South African Pinise Saul, was late arriving, due to transport problems. But once she arrived we plunged into learning a sublimely beautiful version of the Lord's Prayer. Each part was taught by ear, and repeated over and over until we had it by heart. The experience of this new, inclusive style of singing 'in the round' and for pure pleasure made my heart soar. I thought, "This must be what it is like in heaven!"'

Group member Chris Carling says: 'Kay has a real gift for bringing our voices out from where they are hiding. We learn by ear and it's an amazing feeling to be in the group as we master a new song, with harmonies, in a very short time. We really sing our hearts out. I always leave both relaxed and exhilarated.'

Let Your Voice Play meets on Wednesday evenings in term time
Venue: The North Room, St Andrew's Church, Girton, 8.00-9.30pm
Cost: £7/£6 Concessions
Contact Kay Barrett, tel. 07773 109538, email kay@naturalvoice.net

"Focus on Girton" is a series of occasional articles on the organisations of Girton. Articles are written independently by members of the editorial team of the Girton Parish News with the consent and cooperation of the organisation concerned. The selection of organisations featured is entirely at the discretion of the editorial team. The articles do not in themselves represent an endorsement of the aims or activities of organisations. No link exists between the publication of an article and any paid advertising in the Girton Parish News, whether in the same issue or more generally. The article may also be found on the Girton Parish website at www.girton-cambs.org.uk.