The singing Chair of Bearsted Choral Society

Sarah Emptage has been singing with Bearsted Choral Society for a little over three years, a pastime she enjoys and encourages others to consider.


Singing, as Sarah goes on to tell us, has multiple benefits and is always worthwhile “sometimes when I am leaving home to go to a BCS rehearsal on a Monday night, after a busy and long day at work I wonder what on earth I am doing. However, when I get home I always feel better, invigorated and lighter in mood. If you like choral singing then come and give us a try, we welcome new members and are a friendly bunch. There is enormous community spirit at Bearsted Choral Society”.


Now she sits as Chairman of the society and has done throughout what has been one of the most turbulent and extreme periods in their entire history. CommunityAd had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Sarah who was in good spirits as life within the choral society had started to take shape again.


As Chairman what do you enjoy most about the role?

Bearsted Choral Society is a very friendly choir with a wonderful community spirit. During lockdown, we have kept meeting virtually and as chairman, it has been rewarding to help this to happen. “Zoom” singing has been hugely beneficial to us all and we have got to know each other better, during our virtual meetings, as we have had time for conversing, as well as singing.


From the outside looking in, it appears to be a great active group to be a part of, is it so?

The choir is hugely active and this was made very clear during lockdown when there has been an enormous appetite for online singing. We usually perform at least four concerts per year and we have already planned a full programme of events for the coming season. Fingers crossed that these can go ahead.


It is proven that singing is good for you, the perfect antidote for these times no doubt, what makes singing as a choir so uplifting?

The choir has managed two face-to-face rehearsals, since March 2020, keeping within the strict COVID safe, government guidelines. Singing together again brought all of us such joy, we all left with smiling faces.

Singing in a choir is actually good for you! As you sing endorphins are released, these hormones give an emotional lift, reducing stress and contributing towards a positive mental state. In addition, the deep breathing involved is good for lung function. But this is not all. If you enjoy listening to music, then contributing with your own voice is a really wonderful thing. When you sing with a choir you can enjoy listening to the harmonies of others and also improve your own singing as you take instruction from the musical director.


How has the choral society and its members found the adjustment to Zoom that we’ve all had to endure?

The members have been fantastic at coping with ‘Zooming’ and our musical director has worked so hard to make our rehearsal fun and full of content. We have covered Mozart’s Requiem, Hydan’s Little Organ Mass and also Trial by Jury during 18 months of online rehearsals! Not content with this, we have held several online quizzes and even Carols by Zoom with readings.


I imagine it must be joyous to finally reunite with your choir in a real-world setting after the lockdown-induced absence? I know of a few people who were most looking forward to rejoining their choirs after restrictions were lifted.

We have managed two face to face rehearsals, which were indeed joyous. We can’t wait to get started again in September, although we are singing at a local wedding in August.


Why should readers consider coming along and joining the choral society?

I joined the society after many years in a smaller choir and I instantly felt welcome. The Members are so friendly, enthusiastic and, when permitted before COVID, a break at half time helps build a sense of community, new members quickly get to know each other in the choir. Andrew Lowen, our musical director is inspiring, dynamic and has greatly helped us to cope with Zoom, we are so looking forward to singing face to face.


Do you have any dates of events etc coming up that readers should be putting in their calendars?

Assuming restrictions allow;

13th November 2021 Holy Cross Church Bearsted – music to include Mozart’s requiem and Hydan’s little organ mass.

18th December 2021 St Peter’s Church Bearsted – Carol Concert.


For more info on Bearsted Choral Society and their events or how to join, head to their website today.

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