Over the past few months I have been involved in recording and producing a compilation album featuring some of Bath’s best Community groups. One of the choirs featured on the CD is the Bath Community Gospel Choir which is run and directed by Jo Sercombe. I’d heard of Jo’s work and enviable reputation before this, but until this time never seen her in action. I was really impressed with the way she directed her choir for the recording session and, knowing she also ran choral workshops, this gave me the idea of putting together a workshop for the Pewsey Belles.
This idea came to fruition on Saturday when Jo came over to Pewsey to run a workshop for the Pewsey Belles. Part of the aim was to give the ladies an experience of someone else directing the choir as well as providing them with some basic vocal coaching, bearing in mind we have a wide range of musical experience within the choir. As with all our choir events, it was also a chance for the ladies to get together outside of the normal routine of choir practice.
I felt that Jo got the balance spot on providing something for everyone. The day started with an exploration of various different warm up ideas, presented in such a way as to capture everyones attention. In amongst the fun aspect of the exercises, Jo provided plenty of explanation as to the purpose of the warmups and how they helped to improve the voice and ultimately produce a better sound. There was also a lot of emphasis on breath control teaching the ladies how to take little sips of breath and use them for best advantage when singing.
Later on Jo taught the ladies an entire song in 4 parts without music with the aim of bringing the choir together and encouraging people to listen to the other parts in order to produce a balanced sound. This part of the day also covered other vocal techniques as well as help pitching notes with a greater degree of accuracy.
For my part, I really enjoyed not only seeing Jo work with the ladies but actually the chance to sit in amongst the choir and listen to them sing. I thought Jo did a fantastic job and I have had nothing but postive feedback for her. The plan is to run another workshop next year to look at other aspects of singing.
If you want Jo to run a workshop for your choir then you can contact her via her website at http://www.josercombe.com.