Singing in front of an audience sounds like some people’s worst nightmare. So why are so many signing up to a cappella groups, where there is not even the comfort of an accompaniment?
Across the UK, a cappella groups have risen from obscurity. Traditionally sung in churches (the words themselves mean “in the manner of churches”) a cappella in more recent years has become synonymous with the American college system, where most groups sing pop or rock classics.
Films like 2013’s Pitch Perfect and television shows such as Glee have raised the profile of such groups in the US, but we’ve also seen the likes of The Alleycats and The Magnets hit the big time here, too.
City Sirens, an all-female a cappella group is just one of a number of singing troupes sprouting in the city.
Established in November 2013 by Emma Sands and Tom Colwell after getting hold of another choir’s long waiting list, it now has a core of 10 singers.
Despite the skill needed to sing without accompaniment, City Sirens is not restricted to accomplished musicians and some of the members don’t even read music.
It is this welcoming attitude that attracts the members to the group.
Rhianne Attwood hadn’t sung since being in the choir in school, but joined the Sirens to meet new people.
“It was a chance to try something I’d never done before.
Now when I leave, I walk up the road singing”.
She stresses how much the group has boosted her confidence.
“When I first joined I could never imagined singing with only a few people.
Now I would sing with just one other person.”
Tom, the conductor of the all-female choir says it’s the feel-good factor that keeps people coming back.
“Sometimes in this weather you think the last thing you want to do when you come home is go out again but you go away feeling so much more awake”, he says.
Emma agrees. She said:
“When people skip a class they say how much they wished they’d come and how much they missed it.”