Please stop singing…
When Nadine Cooper was 11 or 12 her music teacher asked her to stop singing as she was “spoiling it for everyone else”.
She spent the next few decades avoiding public singing, but got increasingly frustrated when hearing how good singing in a group is for us. It releases endorphins which are known as “happy hormones”. There is much research on the physical, emotional and social benefits.
Nadine met local choir leader Bernie Bracha, and was invited to join one of her community choirs, as they were open to all. Whilst not disputing this, Nadine didn’t think she’d enjoy it. She’d be among people who wanted to make a beautiful sound, whilst not being able to tell whether she was or wasn’t. She would probably spoil it for everyone else. And instead of being relaxing, she’d find it very stressful. She didn’t want to try to learn to sing, she just wanted to sing!
Nadine suggested a choir just for people like her, where people could sing without being judged. Bernie agreed to lead a session, to see if anyone was interested. They agreed sole aim would be to have members walk out the door feeling uplifted. There would be no auditions, no music, no parts and no tuition.
The pair agreed that not all the members would be “tone deaf” as that’s only a small percentage of the population, whilst many more say they can’t sing. Nadine found the term ‘tuneless’ defined as “lacking the ability, practice or confidence to sing in tune”.
The first Tuneless Choir took place on Thursday 14th January 2016, in the West Bridgford area of Nottingham:
Tuneless catches on…
Nadine proved no to be alone in her desire to “sing like no one is listening” – which quickly became the choir’s tag line.
Local press coverage soon helped the choir double in size. Then the national press started arriving! We featured on the BBC News. We sang to John Humphries on Radio 4 who said “I think that’s probably enough”. Wynne Evans, the Go-Compare opera singer, said on Radio Wales “I’ve never heard that sung in nineteen different keys at the same time before.” There were only 12 of us in the room.
The One Show came along to record on an 80’s theme night, and didn’t have the decency to tell that to the viewers, who probably are left with the impression that Nadine always wears a pink tutu…
Many adventures followed for West Bridgford Tuneless Choir, and it has become a wonderful happy community in these fraught times. Members do have incredibly busy jobs and caring responsibilities, and it is their stress-relief, their escape.
They all wanted one…
We were soon approached by others wanting to set up their own Tuneless Choirs, asking for our guidance and to use our brand. The easiest way to do this quickly was to set up a franchising arrangement which also had the huge benefit that our choir leaders could be their own bosses. Nadine set up Tuneless Choir Ltd offering deliberately affordable franchise packages, with Bernie acting as Musical Director.
Over the years a group of the most wonderful people have become Tuneless Choir Leaders and Managers. Each choir is a little different as they bring their personalities to them and make their own decisions on things like what songs to sing, but everyone gets great satisfaction from being able to bring people fun and laughter.
At time of writing there are 30 active Tuneless Choirs around the UK, with more launches planned.
Ready to air those vocal chords for the first time in many years? Then click below to find your nearest Tuneless Choir: