Anna and choirs… Anna was born into a musical family. Her mother sings folk songs from her native county, Northumberland, and her father plays Northumbrian pipes, melodeon and fiddle. Anna learned fiddle from the age of 5 then later flute and piano, but singing was always the love of her life. She sang in choirs throughout her childhood, winning competitions, performing internationally and even appearing on Blue Peter with the Farnham Youth Choir. She started conducting her first choir while studying for her BMus in Music & Technology at Kingston University. Since then she has started over 20 choirs, many of which are still in existence today.
Anna currently runs 5 choirs including Guildford Vox Community Choir, Horsell Community Choir and Woking Carers’ Choir. A member of the Natural Voice Pratitioners’ Network Anna believes that singing is a birth right and no one should ever be told they ‘can’t sing’.
Anna says: “Singing with friends around you can heal the mind, the heart and the body. My aim is to bring the benefits of group singing to everyone.”
Anna the performer… Anna’s first professional gig was playing for a PTA ceilidh with her family ceilidh band at the age of 15. Since then she has never really left the stage. In 2001 she was selected to join the European Youth Folk Orchestra as lead singer which took her all over Europe. Over the last 15 years she has performed at folk festivals, arts centres, folk clubs and ceilidh dances with some well loved acts including The Tabbush Sisters, the Climax Ceilidh Band, Meridian, Anna & the Odd Socks and more recently MoltenAmba.
Anna and SingFest… Anna ran the first SingFest in 2007 with co-founder Rod Edbrook. Anna and Rod were both involved with local choirs at the time and thought it would be a nice idea to to get them all together for a party at Mellow Farm, a place they both knew and loved. This was the birth of SingFest. The first SingFest was funded by Awards for All and got off to a flying start. Since then the festival has doubled in size and changed in many ways, but the community singing, inclusivity and joyous energy has remained the same. Over the last few years Anna has brought a creative element to SingFest: She writes a round for participants to learn in the morning warm-ups and on the Sunday morning she gets participants writing their own group song inspired by memorable moments during the weekend with hilarious and heart-warming consequences. Depending on the time of year, Anna describes SingFest as “her baby” or “a bit of a monster”, but either way, she is proud of what SingFest has become and immensely grateful for everyone who has helped along the way.
Until next time… If you would like to join in the fun at SingFest 2015 you can book here. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter and join in the tweeting with #SingFest2015. Next week we’ll be blogging about some more SingFest 2015 tutors so watch this space!