“Since Singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing.”
– William Byrd (1543[?]-1623) in his Preface to “Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadness and Piety” (1588)

Jill directing a rehearsal of Potters Bar Community Choir

Jill directing a rehearsal of Potters Bar Community Choir

Over the years I have directed many choirs of all ages, including children’s choirs, church choirs, community choirs, large choral groups and small chamber choirs. It never ceases to amaze me, the number of people who tell me how much better they feel when they sing; it can be in the company of many others in a large choir, a workshop session, an individual lesson, or just in the bath or shower. Singing has a powerful physical, emotional and social benefit on our lives.

Singing exercises our lungs, many major muscle groups and our heart.
Singing improves our posture, poise and can help with balance.
Singing tones our facial muscles and opens our airways.
Singing reduces muscle tension and helps to release pain-relieving endorphins.
Singing improves our concentration, aids memory and keeps us mentally alert.
Singing improves the tone and projection of our speaking voice.
Singing improves our visual, aural and oral skills and the co-ordination needed between all three.

Singing increases our sense of confidence and well-being.
Singing reduces stress and helps us to manage feelings of anger and tension.
Singing is energising and uplifting.
Singing opens our imagination and promotes creativity.
Singing improves our confidence and ability in communicating and presenting our ideas to others.
Singing encourages bonding, understanding and empathy with others.
Singing increases our sense of happiness and contentment.
Singing awakens our deepest emotions and seeks a response to the sound we hear.

Singing brings people together and gives them a shared identity and sense of belonging.
Singing challenges and encourages people to learn new skills in a supportive environment.
Singing can be done anywhere, anytime. You are your own instrument – take it with you everywhere.
Singing is fun!
Singing is ageless! – I began singing to my own children before they were born and a member of the choir at Christ Church in Radlett has been singing there all his life; he will be 92 years of age this summer!
Singing is for the whole family. It is an experience you can all share, giving you common goals and wonderful memories.

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die. – Paul Simon

If you need any further convincing, try these two articles:
The Guardian keeping body and soul in tune
Tenovus cancer care – Sing with us

In November 2013 I was delighted to be appointed as the Organist and Choir Director at St. Etheldreda’s, the parish church in Fore Street, Old Hatfield. The adult choir rehearses on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm in the church and sings every Sunday morning at 9.30am (Choral Eucharist) and for special services at certain times of the year such as Christmas and Easter. The repertoire ranges from traditional Tudor and Renaissance choral music to more contemporary pieces by Archer, Rutter and Chilcott. The choir occasionally sings elsewhere and in 2015 sung two special 1662 prayer book services in the chapel at Hatfield House. We welcome new singers in all voices. Please Contact me if you would be interested in singing with us or come and talk to me at one of the Sunday services.St. Eth’s Choir had an away-day on Sunday 13th May, travelling north up the A10 to St. Margaret’s of Antioch Church in the parish of our former Rector’s wife, Rev. Ruth Pyke. We all had a wonderful time singing choral evensong in this beautiful, village church and catching up with Richard and Ruth. One of the highlights was afternoon tea in the beautiful garden of one of the churchwardens, where Y.E.S! especially enjoyed discovering lots of secret corners and dropping stones down a 50′ well to hear them splash 5 seconds later. After such excitement, concentration for Choral Evensong was a challenge, but the choir sang well and the service was much appreciated by everyone. 

Y.E.S! (Young Eth’s Singers) is our young people’s choir which was started in February 2014. It is now 4 years years old and we are delighted to announce the foundation of a Choral Scholarship Fund to assist and encourage our teenagers within the group to stay with us and continue their singing with our adult choir. Y.E.S! draws children from Hatfield, Welwyn Garden, and surrounding areas and meets on Wednesdays, from 6.00pm-7.00pm. The children sing with the adult choir at the Family Choral Eucharist on the third Sunday of each month (a more informal service) and at some other festival services, as well as at other churches in the team ministry on an occasional basis.

Y.E.S! on the Cresta run with “The Vicar” at Phasels Wood Activity Centre

Lady Salisbury is a patron of Y.E.S! and at Christmas the children are invited to sing for her, Lord Salisbury and guests in the Armoury at Hatfield House, followed by a private tour of the House and tea.  Y.E.S! is also available to sing at weddings for which each chorister receives a small payment depending on length of service and ability . This is a wonderful opportunity for any child aged between 7-14 years of age to learn how to sing properly, develop their music knowledge and be part of a choir that sings in this historic and beautiful place of worship.  As part of their training the children will work towards the Royal School of Church Music medals and ribbons, internationally recognised levels of achievement within choral singing.

Follow this link to hear a recording of Y.E.S! singing “The Lord bless you and keep you”  by John Rutter, made at St. Eth’s in 2015. In 2018 Y.E.S! have got a busy schedule. They have already been booked to sing at several weddings, and at Choral Evensong in Barley, north Herts and for our Patronal Festival on 24th June at 6pm.

Y.E.S! at Phasels Wood Activity Centre for their Training Day in September 2017

We also have lots of Training and Activity days and in January enjoyed a very special visit to King’s College, Cambridge for a workshop with The King’s Men. We attended a rehearsal of the world-famous King’s College Choir, had a tour of the chapel and then stay for choral evensong sung by the choir. After Easter, we have also been invited to a bell-ringing session in the bell tower at St. Eth’s.

Jill at the organ in St. Etheldreda’s Church, Hatfield.

Please Contact me if you are interested in singing with the choir or would like to discuss music for your wedding at Christ Church. Further details about music at St. Etheldreda’s, Y.E.S!the adult choir and the team ministry in Hatfield can be found at St. Etheldreda’s, Hatfield

I formed and directed this chamber choir for eleven years from 1999- 2011. The choir sang at venues in London and the Home Counties, raising money for local charities at concerts and singing choral services at churches and cathedrals. The choir also sang regularly at Knebworth House in the Minstrels’ Gallery as part of their presentation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. In 2009, Positif was selected as the “Choir of the Day” in the BBC Choir of the Year competition at the Milton Keynes Arena. The repertoire varied from sacred anthems and spirituals to folk songs and more contemporary, popular music. The choir’s last performance together was singing choral evensong for Epiphany at St. James’ Church, Goffs Oak in January 2011.

Finally, for a great web-site about how to sing well and lots of ideas for getting involved in singing try:
BBC sing