Did you know that singing is scientifically proven to lower cortisol the stress hormone and make you feel physically and mentally well? Not to mention what it does for the lungs and the brain, and singing as part of a group gives an enormous sense of community and pleasure. Add in a glass of Prosecco with a friendly bunch of like-minded women and you have ‘Singing Mums.’
Hello, I’m Georgia Jakubiak, singer and lecturer, and I set up the Mum’s choir when my boys were small so I could take them to work with me. The choir morphed into an evening club for ladies to have some ‘me time’ without the kids and to see their friends. Lauren Elliott, talented teacher and pianist now runs the Harrogate group and has worked hard through lockdown to keep the choir running with zoom sessions and video projects. Although the choir has struggled to keep going financially Lauren is committed to the choir and quietly determined to keep it afloat.
“I was determined to keep Singing Mums going through the pandemic, to help our ladies keep at least a small slice of normality within their upturned lives. Seeing friendly faces and singing uplifting songs, I really think helped everyone, including myself, to combat the loneliness, stress and uncertainty we all were feeling. Coronavirus took so much from us all so quickly; I really didn’t want it to take that couple of hours ‘me’ time from the mums too. The online sessions enabled them to step away from family feuds, work worries, home schooling and allowed them to forget everything other than singing for a short space of time. Although it was difficult not being to hear each other singing as a group, sharing the experience I feel brought us all closer together and gave us some great memories to treasure along the way.” – Lauren Elliott (Harrogate teacher)
So why join a choir? Apart from the physical and mental benefits of having a good sing and a laugh some of the Mums have become really good friends. We try to organise social events as well as the occasional gig for the ladies to enjoy such as the beer festival where we all ended up on stage with the ‘Rockaoke’ band belting out some Madonna!
This term we’ll be learning a summery set list for a performance at Harlow Carr. It will be such a special moment to sing together after over a year apart. The song arrangements we do are simple yet effective so anyone can join in and pick up their harmony part within the session. You don’t have to be an amazing singer; we don’t audition and you don’t have to use sheet music. We have a huge resources page on our website with the song arrangements scored and recorded by me Georgia, Lauren and Jackie our Wakefield teacher, so ladies that want to practice in between, or if they miss a session they can catch up.
We’ve had some fabulous gigs in the past which we’re hoping will start to pick up again now including the Horsforth Christmas lights switch on, The West Yorkshire Pop Choir Festival where we won an award for ‘most original arrangement’ of ‘This Woman’s work’ by Kate Bush as well as some events at Harlow Carr.
So if we haven’t persuaded you to join yet let’s hear it from the Mums…
“Singing Mums has changed my life. Two years ago I walked into a room full of strangers and now I am part of something so special. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming, singing with them makes my soul smile and each week I can’t wait for the next session.” – Zoe from Harrogate.
I think as busy Mums we tend to spend all our time and money on our kids and their clubs and activities and forget about ourselves. But to be the best we can be we need to take care of our own wellbeing. Singing for an hour and a half once a week gives us a focus and the body and mind a break from the everyday juggle. It’s as effective as meditation or a gym work out! (We are also working out, lots of muscles are at work when we sing and although we may not come out with a six pack we’re definitely burning off the prosecco!) It’s not strictly Mums who join too, we have some ladies in the choir who aren’t, we welcome all ladies.
We try to choose uplifting pop/rock songs with good melodies, anything from Fleetwood Mac to Justin Beiber, Elton John to Rihanna. To see some videos of previous performances you can find them on our Singing Mum’s YouTube channel