Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre launches new choir for Eastfield - and it's free to take part

Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre is creating a new choir for the residents of the town’s Eastfield area.

By Sue Wilkinson
Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 9:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th June 2020, 5:19 pm
Mark Gordon

The Eastfield Choir, which is supported by McCain Foods and local residents’ group EAST, will meet via Zoom on Mondays from 11.30am to 12.30pm for five weeks from July 13.

They will work on a song chosen by Eastfield residents from the following: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey; Valerie by The Zutons/Amy Winehouse; Budapest by George Ezra; Mama Mia by ABBA, and Stand by Me by Ben E King.

Voting will take place on the Eastfield Past and Present Facebook page during the week commencing July 29.

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Helpful guide music tracks and videos will be sent to choir members and they will work towards a film of the song they’ve chosen.

The theatre's associate director for children and young people and Funky Choir member Cheryl Govan said: “This is a fantastic intergenerational project with a strong emphasis on creating new social links – anyone can take part, whatever their age and ranging from whole families to those living on their own.

“The first term of the project will result in a video using footage captured by the residents and edited together. This will be a lovely record for everyone involved.

“If you have a smartphone, an iPad or a laptop you can access Zoom and we can help you if you need some support. And don’t worry if you don’t like the first song – a choir has to start somewhere, and it could be your choice next time.”

“Don't be put off if you think you can’t sing: this is about having a good time. The best bit about Zoom choirs is only the people in your own house can hear you…

“And thanks to the generous support of McCain, membership of the Eastfield Choir is free.”

Choir members will be able to access the videos on private Facebook groups which they will be invited to join at the start of the project.

Charlotte Pick, communications business partner at McCain, says: “We’re delighted to support the Eastfield Choir through our partnership with the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

“McCain has been a part of the Scarborough community for more than 50 years and is proud to play a role in the communities where we live and work. This uplifting project will help reduce feelings of isolation and allow local residents to feel part of the community again.”

The team from the Stephen Joseph has already worked with residents’ group EAST on various projects including helping to clear up The Dell, the area’s nature reserve, and spokesperson Adele Armstrong Jackson says: “We are really excited about the choir. When we first met with Cheryl Govan, we spoke about what we would like to do in Eastfield: clearing the rubbish from The Dell was one project, and an inter-generational activity like this was another. Let the fun begin!”

The new choir will be led by musical director Mark Gordon, who says: “I’m absolutely delighted to be involved in this project. I love running choirs and generally having fun singing, so I’m really looking forward to meeting - well, virtually meeting - a lot of like-minded people. Singing is fantastic for lifting the spirits and putting a smile on the face of both the singer and the listener.

“I’m also excited to see the end product – the idea that a bunch of people who don’t know each other are going to come together and do something fabulous and community-based like this is such a wonderful concept. I hope loads of people will get involved – the more the merrier! And remember, it’s not about having the world’s best voice, it’s about enjoying singing, being prepared to give it a go and having some fun!”

A prominent figure on the Scarborough music scene for more than 30 years, Mark performs regularly with many popular local bands and acts as musical director for several theatre shows. Mark is also a music teacher in local schools and runs youth orchestras, jazz bands, rock workshops and choirs, as well as being a private piano teacher.

For more information on the Eastfield Choir visit https://www.sjt.uk.com/event/1047/eastfield_zoom_choir