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January. Fresh starts, good intentions and random resolutions. I’ve returned to Suffolk a newly married girl, beginning her life with a Captain Trumpet, a Pickle and a Hopscotch (boy, dog, boat) and am considering my goals for the year. If I’m truly honest, classical music is ‘sloightly on th’ huh’ as we say in Suffolk. Grants being slashed, sponsorship harder to find and even the big classical institutions in trouble. The reason? Not enough people like it. ‘Posh music’ my father-in-law calls it. Really?
During those ‘did-I-really-eat-all-that’ days between Christmas and New Year, I went for a wrap-up-warm walk with a school friend and her daughter. Six she is, with bright eyes, beautiful energy and a sense of style that would have Anna Wintour reaching for the phone. A creative sponge ready and waiting to be inspired. “Shall we sing a song to pass the time,” I said. “I don’t know any songs,” she replied. Expletives were starting to form in my head. “You don’t sing at school?” I asked, aware that my voice was creeping up into the soprano register. “Well, we learnt ‘Roar’ in class and a Katie Melua song, I think.” Two songs in two years! Golly. And where’s the music education encompassing ALL the styles, not just the verse/chorus/bridge/hook/refrain songs sung by the skimpily clad 20-somethings? At that age, the child has no inhibitions, doesn’t find singing embarrassing and can reap so many benefits from expression through the human voice. It de-stresses. It transports to the world of make-believe. It’s healthy. And it’s free!
So fired and frenzied up, I started researching singing groups in the area and was bowled over by what I found. Whether you’re in Stowmarket, Saxmundham or Sudbury, Bury, Beccles or Bixley, there is a singing community ready and waiting for you to turn up, let go, and let rip. Many of these groups encompass all musical styles, the Rabble Chorus, in particular, championing ‘high brow, low brow and anything in-between’.
So what’s my resolution? It’s very simple. To dispel the myth that classical music is posh music. It’s just music, ready and waiting to be enjoyed and discovered. Play it, hum it, whistle it, sing it!
Join me on Monday January 2nd 2017 for the launch of Get Classical with FJ from 6pm to 7pm on ICR 105.7FM & icrfm.com.