Community Singing Groups at the Clockhouse in Greater Leys and the Ark T Centre in Cowley

By Memela Cavanagh at

The Ark T singing group began three years ago as an offshoot from the Clockhouse group, in Greater Leys. The group were kind enough to let me join them for a day.
Janet Stansfeld, who runs the Clockhouse singing group, and who is standing in today for Cait at Ark T said “It’s informal, friendly and you don’t have to be a great singer.” Which is lucky for me but I can’t help thinking how great the singers are!

There’s a new member in today, she says that she came to get out of the house, and to be part of a team. The group are welcoming, lovely and kind so she’ll be coming back, she says. New people will recognise some or most of the songs, an assortment of old and new. There are about sixty or seventy to choose from, written on a board “Every song here we have sung” I am told.

Appropriately, after a fun warm up, the first song we sing is called ‘Everyone is Welcome, Welcome, Welcome’. There’s a mix of ages and backgrounds present and, on the day I’m there, the music ranges from ‘The Saints Come Marching In’ and ‘What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor’ (With improvised lyrics), to Italian, South African, Native American, Caribbean and Aboriginal melodies, some sung in a round.

It’s a small group with a big range, high and low, and the singers also break smoothly into harmonies. One says that a particular song makes her think of working in the fields, “But” she said ‘Maybe I’ve been watching too much TV!’ She’s been coming to the Ark T group for three months “For friendship. The singing is uplifting and it’s something new. The people are very friendly and you develop relationships. You can come and go as you like so you meet friends coming back. There’s a mixture of old and new.”

Another member of the group said “It’s fun, happy, jolly, and you are part of a group. It’s a bonding experience.” and a third, who’s been coming for some time, said she keeps up with friends there whom she’s not seen in a long time. We remember each other.” Also, “It’s somewhere to come and meet other people. It’s a very small fee…It’s something to look forward to.”

The ArkT singing group meets from: 10.30-12.30 on Fridays with sessions starting again after the summer break on Friday 7th September. For more information please email: cait@ark-t.org or call: 01865 396778
or Visit: www.ark-t.org

The Clockhouse singing group meets from 1.30-3.30 on Tuesdays with sessions starting again after the summer break on Tuesday 4th September, For more information please email: janetstansfeld@gmail.com or call 01865 762200

For more information about community singing groups visit: https://soundresource.org.uk/