Founder and leader of Full Circle Vocal Group
In July, 2008, I had a meal at Zizzi in Guildford for my best friend’s birthday. During our meal, the ACM Gospel Choir suddenly burst into song, unannounced. Total Praise by Richard Smallwood to be precise. It turned out they were practicing for their appearance on The Last Choir Standing, a competition on the BBC. As we were on the table next to them, they sang Happy Birthday to my friend. I was struck by how good they were and longed to be in their choir. Unfortunately to get in, you had to be a student at the ACM. Disappointed, my dad asked ‘Why don’t you run your own choir, then?’. I don’t know what was more daunting, starting up a choir from absolutely nothing but a music degree and a love of singing, or the very first session at 7pm on Monday 9th February 2009.
I had prepared, but I didn’t know what I was preparing for, anyone could have walked through the door – or no one at all. There were six people that night and three were my friends! We started out at a little community arts centre called The Barn in the centre of Farnham. I learnt more and more as the months went on; people came and went. Eventually it was time to move to a more well known venue and from then on our new home was the Farnham Maltings – the best decision I could have made, as Full Circle Vocal Group went from strength to strength and it has grown to four times the size that it was. Starting up a choir has opened a lot of doors for me; I had no confidence before. There are so many aspects of my life that have been changed for the better from the past eight years of running my choir.
Little did I know my trip to Zizzi would have been such a life-changing one.