I’ve sung all my life. I don’t tell everyone that, but I’ve always loved singing. In fact, I used to be a Red Coat! So, when I heard about the Choir with No Name I thought it could be for me.
I was living at the Salvation Army at the time, and they’d left a leaflet at reception. It said, ‘if you can sing or even if you can’t come along’. Within ten-minutes of being in the room I was absolutely in love with CWNN. I really loved it, and since that first day, I just haven’t stopped going.
But, that first day was nerve wracking. Everyone seemed so quiet. I guess because we were all new at the same time. I joined just after the Cardiff choir started in 2021 and I think everyone was a bit nervous. But now when we sing, we’re belting it out and really going for it!
After that first rehearsal I was on cloud nine, but I think it was our first gig at Waterstones that really broke the ice. I think when we got that first round of applause from an audience that was really it for us. Now, we’re not just friends, I count the choir as family. We’re so close it’s like we’re knitted together.
The best thing about being part of the choir is the confidence it gives me. With everyone at choir behind me I’ve been inspired to start really finding out who I am. Before now I don’t think I knew, but I’m on a different path now. I’ve even been able to stay clean. I’ve broken a 25-year cycle with drugs and honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without the choir.
When I talk to other people who aren’t sure if CWNN is for them I say, ‘just try it once’. ‘Just come along once, I’ll sit next to you and, if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back’. I’ve encouraged a few people to join and so far, they’ve all kept coming back! I also tell them there’s free coffee and a hot meal at the end. I think that helps - It’s a winning combination food and singing.
One of my highlights since joining CWNN was meeting the founder, Marie. She came to a rehearsal and there was something about sitting next to this person, and knowing that she’d started all this that was so special. Being able to say thank you meant a lot.
I’m looking forward to the choir growing, being able to reach more people and for us to flourish and be stronger together. People need to know that singing in a choir is not intimidating, they won’t be judged and that they’re welcome. The word welcome means please turn up and be here, be part of us. Then we can sing and show everyone what we can do together.
Next, I’d love us to do a musical themed show (I love singing anything from the Little Shop of Horrors) and to sing on a massive stage, maybe with all the choirs together, to reach all kinds of people. Something where anybody and everybody can see us, so we can show them who we are.
I’m so happy to have found CWNN. Going to that first session I was so nervous, but by the time I got to that second session I was singing my heart out. It’s made such a difference to me. I’m not existing anymore, I’m living, and that’s huge.