The Forres Big Choir
We are a mixed Community Choir, based in Moray, Scotland, since January 2004, and led by experienced musician and choir leader Bill Henderson. We sing inspirational songs from around the world: African, Georgian, Gospel, Gaelic, Welsh, Eastern European, Pop, Taizé, traditional, contemporary, and many more.
For eight years our home was St John's Church in Forres. Still growing, we needed more space, and in January 2012 we moved to Kinloss Church Hall.
What is a Community Choir?
A community choir is a singing group that is open to anyone irrespective of supposed musical prowess or training. The emphasis is on fun and the joy of singing together and also on building a sense of community through singing together. There are no auditions and no mystique about the process of singing. Learning is often by ear rather than by printed music. We mostly sing in a circle instead of in chorus formation – this allows everyone to hear and enjoy the harmonies for themselves, rather than songs being rehearsed entirely for the benefit of an audience.
A community choir creates positive community, and social contacts reach beyond weekly rehearsals. As a result, over the years a real network has grown with many friendships. People look out for each other, support each other, enjoy each other's company and feel wonderful when making the beautiful harmonies together. More possibilities for contact are offered by weekly pub visits after rehearsals, Singing Suppers and Choir Trips.
Sharing our singing
Community choirs are open to sharing their songs at community events and encourage audience participation where appropriate. We have a concert every other year, and some smaller gigs like opening Spooky Men's Chorale concerts, at the Forres Farmers Market and charity events. Although appreciated, taking part is voluntary.
Every January we celebrate our "birthday" for which we gather at our Singing Supper. Friends and family are warmly invited! We bring food and drinks to share. After our meal we sing as a group and also enjoy an increasingly diverse variety of music, songs, poetry, stories, ceilidh style.
In Spring 2005, 25 members made a first Choir Trip to Iona where we sang in the Abbey. This grew into a yearly tradition during October school holidays. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 we were closer to home, near Carrbridge. Since 2013 we go to the north of Skye. Our vision behind these trips is to create an opportunity to spend time together, sing, eat, and relax, to get to know each other better and strengthen our sense of community. And ... simply ... to have a very good time!
The Forres Big Choir was founded in January 2004 by Kate O'Connell and Bill Henderson. After co-leading the Choir for 12 years, Kate left in April 2016:
“ The Forres Big Choir has been one of the highlights of my working life, both in terms of working with Bill and especially all the loyal support that we both have enjoyed from hundreds of wonderful singers over the years. Thank you to you all.
“ I have now released the Choir, and left it in the very capable hands of Bill. Not an easy decision, but after my six months away in 2015, I felt I was ready for new ventures. I have loved my time with the Choir and all the wonderful friends I have made, and songs sung. And I will miss you. ”
All of us thank Kate for her enthusiasm, her dedication, and her endless repertoire of wonderful songs, over the years making the Choir such a wonderful and enriching community. We wish her all the best for her new (ad)ventures.