Lindsey van Gemeren has been volunteering for the Birmingham choir for 2 years, as a music and kitchen helper.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START VOLUNTEERING FOR THE CHOIR WITH NO NAME?
I’ve always loved singing. I know how well it can bring people together, and how music in general can be very cathartic. I was also keen to find a way to support people who haven’t been as lucky as I have so far.
The Choir with No Name brought those two ideas together so beautifully that, as soon as I heard about the Birmingham choir starting, I wanted to do what I could to help out.
PLEASE TELL US YOUR THREE FAVOURITE THINGS ABOUT VOLUNTEERING.
One of my favourite things has definitely been meeting such a range of lovely people. I think it’s easy to only meet people in certain ‘bubbles’ (like work or university), and I’m glad to have met everyone involved in the choir; members, volunteers and staff.
Another is that it has been great seeing people grow in confidence while they have been in the choir, both musically and socially.
I also enjoyed cooking for so many people. I’d never tried to produce a meal on that scale before, and it was scary at first, but very satisfying to find that I could do it.
HAS THERE BEEN AN UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT? WHAT WAS IT?
I’m always really impressed when I speak to members before a concert where they’ve got a solo, and they feel very nervous, but they still perform brilliantly and don’t let their nerves get in the way.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY?
There have been a few moments when people have been having a bad day, but overall it’s been very positive. As a volunteer I also appreciate the support we get from the staff and trustees, which has helped me learn to deal with those few moments when they do crop up.
AND WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT VOLUNTEERING FOR US?
I’m coming to the end of my PhD in biomedical imaging. I spend most of my time in a chemistry lab trying to make tiny shiny beads (by tiny I mean more than 1,000 times smaller than a grain of salt). I then look at them in an MRI scanner in a hospital to see if they could be useful in medicine. Apart from that I like making cakes, going to the theatre and singing whenever I can.
NICE THINGS PEOPLE SAY ABOUT LINDSEY...
“Lindsey is an amazing volunteer. She is always willing to help out wherever needed and is reliable, friendly and supportive to members as well as myself. She is a real asset to the CWNN Brum team and we love having her on board!” - Liz, our choir manager
“Lindsey is really gentle and a lovely listener” - Dea, choir member
“Lindsey is a caring, friendly, kind, helpful, lovely young lady. She always gives you a smile and is willing to help wherever she can. She also has a beautiful voice” - Mrs Birmingham, choir member
“Lindsey has been there from the word go in Birmingham and is incredibly supportive. She combines top class musicianship with high level social skills and a great sense of humour - and she's really brainy!” - Pete, our choir director
“Lindsey is a great person to be around. She is a great singer and found us a great venue for our annual member social. She is a good all round person” - Robert H, choir member
“Lindsey is a very talented choir member. She's great to be around, always positive and cheerful, and is one the most knowledgeable people I know... we're still struggling to find a question she doesn't know the answer to!!” - Laura, volunteer