Meet the singers
We would like to introduce you to a few of our singers, some of whom have sung with the EAC for many years and some are newer. All share a passion for our choir and a love of singing.
Soprano – EAC member for 1 year
My favourite piece we have sung so far is ‘The Lamb’ by Paul Carr. I had the opportunity to listen to it during a rehearsal in the church and it really moved me. Every time we sing it, I am reminded of that moment. When it is done right, it sounds magical.
The thing I enjoy most about the rehearsals is the speed at which pieces are picked up. Often the choir is able to sight-read a new piece, which is very satisfying. There is also a good work ethic in the choir and everyone works hard. Singing in the choir matters to me as it provides an opportunity to escape the daily grind and become totally absorbed in a rehearsal with a group of friendly people.
I have become much more aware of the conductor since joining the EAC. I used to be terrible at sticking my head in the music and forgetting about the conductor. I have become much better at this and have realised how much difference it can make watching the conductor!
Outside of the choir, I am in my final year of a Masters in Music Therapy. The EAC has provided a great opportunity for me to continue actively engaging in music and helped me not become too bogged down in my studies.
Tenor – EAC member for a year and a half
What I most enjoy about the concerts is getting a front row seat (albeit from behind!) to listen to our fantastic orchestra and starring soloists, whilst singing in an incredibly impressive choir whose only reward is the applause and fulfilling feeling you get from the love of singing with like-minded individuals. When not singing, I'm in the Regular Army, but with the good fortune to be living in Redhill, the home of the EAC.
Alto – EAC member for 15 years
I first began singing with the EAC as a soprano when I moved to Reigate in 1993. After 10 years, I had a break as family commitments were too great, and then re-auditioned and returned as an Alto about 5 years ago. In many respects the choir has not changed in that it still sets a very high standard. It was this that initially appealed to me and remains the reason why I love being in the EAC. I enjoy singing my favourite works over and over (Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Verdi Requiem) but also the fact that there's always something new every season to maintain variety. The rehearsals are hard work but it's the focus and concentration required that stimulate me. I work as a clinical Nurse Specialist in palliative care. It is an emotionally challenging job but when I come to choir I can truly relax and enjoy the emotional experience of singing beautiful music.
I enjoy singing locally but love the thrill of singing in more well-known venues too. What I love most about our concerts is the overwhelming sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to be singing with a choir that creates a beautiful choral sound to such a high standard. I cannot fathom why everyone doesn't want to sing with us!
Tenor – EAC member for 4 years
For me, the most special piece I've sung with the EAC has to be the Faure requiem. I've always been touched by its apparent simplicity, yet immense emotional power. I first sang it with the choir soon after joining, and I loved being part of such a wonderful sound for such a great work.
Music has always been a passion. I play oboe with a couple of amateur orchestras as well as singing with the EAC. I work in London as a consulting actuary, and spend far too long commuting on Southern Rail! Music is the perfect creative antidote to a long, stressful day at work. There is simply no better feeling than making music with a group of like-minded people – whether as a singer or as an instrumentalist. Being part of that process is something very special.
We've had some wonderful soloists perform at our concerts in recent years, both singers and instrumental players. Sharing a platform with musicians of that calibre can feel electrifying. Even more so when many of them have said how great it feels to perform with us too.
I got married in 2014 and it was great to have some of the choir sing at our wedding. Not only were they fabulous, but it was an honour having people I usually sing alongside singing at our ceremony. Several of the pieces performed during the signing of the register were pieces I've performed with the EAC. Bruckner's 'Locus Iste' in particular is a piece I will now always associate with that happy day
Alto – EAC member for 6 years
As a drama teacher and parent of two boys, I find my Monday nights with the EAC are a haven of joy and calm in the midst of a busy life rushing around looking after everyone. The EAC is one of the friendliest choirs I have sung in and I like the way so many of us help with concerts, so that it really feels like the EAC belongs to us all. I also enjoy the fact that in rehearsals we often stand in different positions in the room – either Altos facing Tenors, in small groups with others singing different parts, or in a vast circle. We do this so often that it is not daunting, just an enjoyable challenge. Rehearsals are certainly never boring! We also sing some truly wonderful music, and I appreciate the high standards Les has for us. I particularly enjoy when we sing music off by heart. We have plenty of time to learn music when we do that, so are always confident when we come to perform. I encourage anyone to come along and see if you might like to join us as we are going to be singing some wonderful music in the next season.
Tenor – EAC member for 16 years
I enjoy being in a choir that can make such a wonderful sound – one that is transparent, in tune, and just plain lovely to hear. Being in the EAC is the fulfillment of my life. It is so wonderful to be able to read music well (this has developed since joining) and to have improved my technique into making a really good sound. I especially like it in rehearsals when we sing a piece in a big circle away from others in our voice section. This makes you work on being confident with the notes and you get to hear other parts as well. I'm looking forward to singing the Britten War Requiem in Winchester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey next year.
Soprano – EAC member for 26 years
One of my favourite pieces of music is Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony. I think it is extraordinary music, very evocative and conjures up so many images in my head when we sing it. I grew up beside the sea and love everything about it.
What I enjoy most about our rehearsals is the total absorption in the music to the exclusion of all else. This has been so good for me over the years and there were times when it definitely saved my soul at a time when my life was difficult and unhappy. I really love singing in the round, mixed up. Singing itself is a physical outpouring and gives joy. It is a pleasure listening to the other sections singing as well and makes me appreciate what they are doing and the skill required to do it so well. What matters to me about the EAC is the high standard of musicality. The blend of voices is usually great and the strength of the male sections is wonderful for us women to hear.
Until recently I worked as a senior sister in charge of General Surgery. I have made the most of my time since my retirement and have had many fabulous holidays. I love riding horses and have ridden in many amazing countries. I also ski, scuba-dive and am learning the saxophone.
Bass – EAC member for 16 years
One of my favourite pieces of music we have sung is the Brahms Requiem. What makes it special to me is the memorable performances we gave in places such as Prague Salvator Church, Yehudi Menuhin Hall and Long Melford. What I enjoy most about our rehearsals is the intense and effortless learning experience. And what I enjoy about our concerts is knowing that we are well prepared and ready to concentrate on the optimum interpretation. It matters to me to sing with the EAC, as nowhere else compares; it is a lift above the everyday. Since joining, I feel I have developed very well as a singer. Les is a great teacher and we develop without necessarily realising it.
I am looking forward to singing the St John Passion this year and the War Requiem in 2018. Outside the choir I am busy – I write letters to the national press, have just written a book, enjoy gardening and travel. I need constant challenge and a project to keep me sane.
Alto – EAC member for 16 years
What I enjoy most about our rehearsals is the quality of what we do and the variety of approach. They are a wonderful ‘battery charge’ at the start of the week. Our social events are fun too, with great food. I enjoy participating in our concerts which are always of a high standard, and with an element of the unknown in terms of the final interpretation. Singing the Brahms Requiem in Prague was one of my most memorable concerts, and working with the Conservatoire Orchestra was inspiring.
Outside the EAC, I enjoy gardening, holidays and opera. I am very much looking forward to singing the War Requiem in our forthcoming programme. I have had to grapple with some serious health issues during the past ten years; being able to sing again each time has done wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.