Wednesday 24th April, 2019, marked the launch of The Alley Cats ESCAPE Choir. The lead up to the launch was both exciting and terrifying. I have always loved singing and I get so much joy from it that I really wanted the launch to be a success and for others to feel a similar joy when singing.
The anticipation was huge - I had no idea how many people would arrive, I didn't know if anyone had seen my posters around the village or spotted my posts on social media. A handful of people had contacted me and signed up but total numbers and interest was unknown.
The lovely people of Lymm started to arrive and they didn't let me down. When our first Alley Cats session started there were 31 singers in front of me - I was totally overwhelmed. 31 wonderful faces smiling back at me and singing.
We started with a fun warmup to prepare our voices and bodies for singing, then we learned a simple round about 'Gin and Tonic'! With a little movement we moved to the Congo to sing a Congolese folksong about bananas 'Banaha'. Soon it was time for a break and a chat; with this being our launch I treated the singers to cake as well as the usual biscuits and a brew. After our break we ended our rehearsal with the popular song 'Ain't no Mountain high enough' the 1960s hit by Martin Gaye.
What an amazing first ever Smiley Tunes choir event - I am so excited to see who will join us and what fabulous moments we will experience and create together.
It's been a very exciting week for Charlie the Cheshire Cat (The Cheshire Cats Children's Choir Mascot) and I. We have been travelling around Lymm and visiting the local primary schools. Both Ravenbank Primary School and Cherry Tree Primary School welcomed us into their assemblies and allowed us to sing with their fabulous children to promote our NEW Choir. Next week we will be singing with the children of Statham Primary School and hopefully the children of Oughtrington very soon.
This is a very exciting time for 'Smiley Tunes', as the spaces for The Cheshire Cats Children's Choir as beginning to fill.
June 2019, saw Smiley Tunes launch its children’s choir, The Cheshire Cats Children’s Choir, in Lymm. Children from primary schools across the Lymm area came together to sing, laugh and have fun. After just three rehearsals the choir, aged between 6 and 11, performed a small concert, to the delight of their friends and relatives.
Helen Elliott, the founder of Smiley Tunes said, “There is no better feeling for me than singing in a group, to be part of a team and making fabulous music together. The children have been really enthusiastic and have enjoyed making new friends and learning new songs. It is such a joy to launch a new children’s choir in Lymm. I look forward to watching the group grow and develop into an amazing children’s choir.”
The Cheshire Cats Children’s Choir rehearse on Friday’s 3:45 – 5:00pm at Lymm Village Hall during term time. New members are always welcome.
The Alley Cats ESCAPE Choir made their debut performance in front of The Cross in July. Some of its members hadn’t sung in a choir since school days and had never before performed in public. The residents of Lymm welcomed their outdoor performance with smiles and appreciative applause, a video even made its way on to the Lymm Facebook page having 1.9K views.
The Alley Cats ESCAPE Choir is open to all adults, music reading is not required. They rehearse weekly at Lymm Village Hall on Wednesday 10:45 – 12:00, during term time.
Sunday December 8th, 2019 found Lymm Village Hall alive with chatting, laughter and lots of singing. Smiley Tunes held it's first combined event. The hall contained lots of activities and stalls including; tombola, raffle, delicious cakes, children's craft activities, name the giant Elf and much more. Friends and family of the choir members had a great afternoon. We also raised £415.15 for the Alzheimer's Society. I was so pound of all the choir members involved. The Cheshire Cats and Alley Cats sang solo spots and also joint items. It was such an amazing feeling to have them singing together and brough a tear to my eye (in a good way)- last year Smiley Tunes was still a dream now its a reality.
It was a very sad day when I had to cancel my weekly choir rehearsals with 'Cheshire Cats Children's Choir' and 'The Alley cats ESCAPE Choir' due to COVID-19. This virus wasn't going to stop Smiley Tunes though. The sole purpose of Smiley tunes is to sing and feel good and that was exactly what people needed so I decided to try out LIVE Facebook sessions for both children and adults. The interest was overwhelming. My first ever live session was viewed by over 5.9 thousand people and then that was topped by my first children's session which had a staggering 33 thousand views. People were singing with Smiley Tunes in Australia, Thailand, Switzerland and America.
Over 10 weeks I delivered 19 live children's sessions (2 per week) and 11 adults sessions (1 per week). The feedback was wonderful but as the research was pointing to choirs not being able to meet for a very long time due to the coronavirus I felt it was time to move to Zoom.
Zoom rehearsals are my next challenge - I'm really looking forward to singing and socialising with my wonderful singers again. Also, now the choir is not limited to Lymm and the surrounding area - anyone in the world can join us.