Meet the Singers of the Songbirds Choir

We have so many amazing choirs which offer their own unique sound, so we decided to chat to them and share their stories. In this article we talk to five singers from Songbirds, our fabulous all-female choir!

Jade Borkowski

Vocal Section - Soprano 2

Occupation - Patent Secretary

Songbirds member since October 2018

1. Why did you want to join a choir?
I love to sing, I wanted to meet other females my age who love singing as much as I do and after experiencing the taster session, I realised I could learn a lot of skills being a member of a choir because you really have to tune in to your own voice to hear yourself above everyone else but also make it work together.  I have always had a passion for performing arts and I was originally thinking of taking on 1-2-1 singing lessons but I thought this would be a good opportunity to meet like minded people and broaden my social circle as well as boost my confidence.

2. What made you choose Songbirds?
Songbirds stood out from the rest; before joining, I watched a few clips on YouTube and they sounded incredible, they looked professional and Katherine Hare is such a talented tutor, with so much experience and an incredible voice. I also love that they work from sheet music; although it's not a necessity to be able to read it, I find it really useful as I used to study music theory. I wanted to be a part of a choir that is recognised and respected, where it's fun but I get to learn key skills from the professionals as well.

 

3. Most memorable experience so far?
I think it has to be as simple as being added to the Songbirds Whatsapp group as everyone was just so welcoming, I found it quite moving and I knew then that I had made the right choice, joining this particular choir. I will be attending a choir festival weekend with Songbirds next month which I think will be a real ice-breaker and a great opportunity to get to know the other members better. Believe it or not the 2 hours we are together each week, absolutely fly by.

4. What are most looking forward to for your next performance?
Being on stage again! I love the whole atmosphere of everyone getting ready backstage, seeing the stage crews set up, the bright lights and singing with a live band.

 

5. Favourite song you sing with the group?
All the songs I have sung with the choir are actually in preparation for the Christmas Showcase so I would hate to give away too much just yet. All I can say is, my favourite is from the one and only Mamma Mia! Here we Go Again. It's a beautiful song and it literally gives me goosebumps; I'm excited for everyone to hear it.

 

6. If you could describe the choir in 3 words, what would they be?
Moving, friendly and beautiful.

Claire Roberts

Vocal Section - Soprano 1
Occupation - Product Lead
Songbirds member since January 2017

1. Why did you want to join a choir?
I had always been in choirs throughout school and uni and started to associate them with being in education, so thought I should give myself a break when I got my first job. Pretty soon I realised how much I missed it. I tried out a few community choirs before a friend suggested the Songbirds (props to Hayley!). Honestly, just having a couple of screen-free hours with good music and great people is the best reason to join a choir.

 

2. What made you choose Songbirds?
I remember my first rehearsal when Kat took us through Kayama by Karl Jenkins - it was a completely different sound, all these female voices singing such a guttural song in an invented language. That's when I knew they weren't your average girls' choir, which I love.

3. Most memorable experience so far?
The entire Pitch Battle process with the Songbirds was totally surreal, but singing 'Ain't Nobody' with Chaka Khan in rehearsal while she fluttered her Chaka-branded fan at us will stay with me forever!

4. What are most looking forward to for your next performance?
I think I'm the only person in the choir not to have seen Mamma Mia 2 (working on it!) but I still love the Abba song we're doing. We've also had permission to wear sequins. Need I say more.

 

5. Favourite song you sing with the group?
The Sound of Silence, it's one of my favourite songs and sounds gorgeous as an acapella version.

 

6. If you could describe the choir in 3 words, what would they be?
Super-talented, welcoming and ambitious.

Laura Sugden Clarke (Suggs)

Vocal Section - Alto 1
Occupation - Writer
Songbirds member since May 2016

1. Why did you want to join a choir?
I’ve always sang in one way or another, but never really in a choir and not very consistently. I’d been living in Canada for a few years and joined a supremely nerdy “glee” club there. I loved the sense of joy and community it had - it also brought music and singing back into my life and made me realise how much I’d missed it. Then, when I moved to London I thought it would be a good way to meet some people.

 

2. What made you choose Songbirds?
Honestly, it was an accident. I was going to do a hip hop class with City Academy but suffered an unfortunate Beyoncé-related injury and had to have a rethink. I started exploring the website and found the choir section; Songbirds had tasters the next day so I went along to see what it was all about. I knew I wanted to join from about 15 minutes in. Best-timed injury ever.

3. Most memorable experience so far?
Singing on the BBC last year and getting to rehearse with Chakha Khan was potentially one of my biggest ever “pinch-me” moments.

 

4. What are most looking forward to for your next performance?
We are doing an incredible version of Stand By Me that I’m so excited for. The harmonies are just gorgeous.

 

5. Favourite song you sing with the group?
We did a Motown Medley last summer that was excellent - all my favourite songs rolled into one. (There may have also been some Supremes-esque dance moves too...)

 

6. If you could describe the choir in 3 words, what would they be?
Warm, supportive, brilliant.

Rebecca Shellim

Vocal Section - Soprano 1
Occupation - Events Manager
Songbirds member since 2011

1. Why did you want to join a choir?
I have been singing for as long as I can remember and have been in choirs since primary school. So finding a choir to join after university seemed like a natural thing to do, that’s when I found The Songbirds.

 

2. What made you choose Songbirds?
I tried a couple of other choirs before discovering The Songbirds, although we weren’t known as The Songbirds back then! I felt right at home when I started and then a few months later Kat, our Choir Director, took over and I knew it could only be onwards and upwards with her in charge! I am really proud to be one of the original members of the choir, to see how much we have grown and achieved over the years is such a wonderful thing.

3. Most memorable experience so far?
I was lucky enough to sing ‘Pie Jesu’ along with my fellow Soprano 1, Lynsey Monroe a few concerts ago. We were both so nervous, but the setting in the church and the rest of the choir singing behind us created the most beautiful atmosphere, it felt very special and I was really pleased we showcased some classical music.

 

4. What are most looking forward to for your next performance?
I think it’s our most diverse repertoire yet so I am looking forward to performing some different material to what our audience might be used to!

 

5. Favourite song you sing with the group?
This is SUCH a difficult question to answer! Leigh Thompson, our Musical Director, wrote a beautiful arrangement of ‘Flight’ by Craig Carnelia, which I loved singing. ‘Hold On’ by Wilson Phillips has basically become our anthem since we sang in on Pitch Battle on the BBC, singing that fills me with a lot of joy!

 

6. If you could describe the choir in 3 words, what would they be?
Fun, talented, loud!

Josephine Mee

Vocal Section - Soprano 2
Occupation - Youth Worker
Songbirds member since 2014

1. Why did you want to join a choir?
I was relatively new to London, and had realised I’d got a little consumed in my job and had left my passions and hobbies behind, hence joining Songbirds! Best decision ever. I’ve made wonderful friendships that if I hadn’t have made, I think I would have really struggled to stay in London.

 

2. What made you choose Songbirds?
Errrrrm, I did some research online, and Songbirds came up! It worked for me as there was no audition to enter, (too terrifying!) and it was only 2 hours a week commitment. The location also helped being so central. I watched a few videos too, and could see they absolutely loved what they were doing-always a winner!

 

3. Most memorable experience so far?
There’s so many….getting to perform on Pitch Battle was a very special one, but I’d say every concert we do. It’s always such a joy and uplifting experience to sing with a group of people you care about, and then too see and feel the audience’s love of it too, it gives you goosebumps! Every concert is like a big hug!

4. What are most looking forward to for your next performance?
Everything!!

 

5. Favourite song you sing with the group?
This is far too difficult, I am ridiculously indecisive and we’ve sang so many songs I’ve loved for different reasons……we sang Elvis Presley, Can’t help falling in love with you at the last concert, that was very beautiful-I could never get through it without welling up, even at the concert!

 

6. If you could describe the choir in 3 words, what would they be?
You asked if I could and I can’t! But, if I had to sum it up, it’d be singing with the Songbirds, makes you smile with your soul!


City Academy has a range of talented and fun choirs to choose from. Whether you want to belt the latest West End toppers with Encore, join our contemporary soul and jazz choir Collective or go for pop and indie with Amplified, there's a choir for you:

 

Songbirds
Encore
Amplified
Collective
Singers