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[p]Stevenage Ladies Choir are celebrating their 60th Anniversary with the release of a recording of the choir’s signature song, As Long As I Have Music (Don Besig/Nancy Price).[/p][p]The community choir, which was formed on 23 May 1960, recorded the song individually in isolation as a way of coming together to celebrate their anniversary as all concerts and celebrations have had to be cancelled.[/p][p]“We wanted to find a way to bring the ladies together, as well as try and raise some money for our chosen charities who we’ve sadly not been able to sing for due to coronavirus,” said the choir’s Musical Director, Ann-Marie Chessman, “the ladies stepped right out their comfort zones to record their harmony parts individually and we’ll be releasing the fully mixed track on Saturday (May 23) – the date of our anniversary.”[/p][p]The ladies choir, who won the gold cup in the Cheltenham music festival in 1965 no longer compete in competitions but have moved their focus onto singing for charity raising thousands of pounds every year.[/p][p]Through the coronavirus pandemic, the choir has set up a support network for its members including a WhatsApp group and regular zoom calls which take place on a Thursday evening in place of normal rehearsals. Birthday cards are sent out to those celebrating in lockdown and many music videos, quizzes and stories have been shared.[/p][p]“We have always felt like a big, extended family, but staying in touch with each other and checking everyone is okay has never been more important,” said choir Concert Coordinator Nicole Vaughton, “Singing together is a great way to boost mental wellbeing, and with extra stresses placed on our members – some of whom are shielding, some who are key workers and others who are simply trying to work through the pandemic – having that taken away has been tough.[/p][p]“But I think that by producing this recording we’ve shown that we’re all in this together, even when we’re apart and we hope that people enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it. Well, maybe not listening to yourself singing unaccompanied, but it provided a lot of laughs sharing stories!”[/p][p]“It’s a shame that we can’t celebrate as we would have liked to, but the choir is still going strong with nearly seventy members, and I’m confident that we’ll be here in another sixty years! Concerts and parties can be rearranged so for now we just wanted to do our bit to bring a little joy to people through our shared love of music.”[/p][p]You can follow the Stevenage Ladies Choir on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by searching for them, or visit [url=http://www.stevenageladieschoir.co.uk/]www.stevenageladieschoir.co.uk[/url][/p]
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