Bass singer Kieran talks to us about his experiences of Vivamus.
What was your singing life like before joining Vivamus?
I’d been singing since primary school, pausing only when I lived abroad for a year or for work reasons. I got the basic choral experience you’d get from doing that, and I’d sung under good conductors, but I didn’t have any grade exams in music, or anything like that.
How long have you sung with Vivamus, and how did you come to join?
I joined in late 2008 with the strong encouragement of a friend who wanted me to do something other than work after I moved back to London. Coincidentally, I had sung at a music camp conducted by our Music Director Rufus Frowde shortly before joining – so I knew Vivamus’ main conductor was both musically excellent and supportive of community music.
What have been your favourite musical moments with Vivamus?
There have been too many to list, but thinking back over the period since 2020, I say for team effort, our Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil concert in April 2022, where we made a massive and concerted sound for an amateur choir of that size. For personal satisfaction, it was getting to sing as a solo item The Fields of Athenry, a song with family connections for me, and dedicate it to my parents.
What ‘bonus features’ do you see to singing in Vivamus?
Again, it is hard to know where to begin! The people are great; many members have sung with Vivamus for a long time, which helps with the atmosphere, the singing, and onboarding new members; and there are opportunities to help run the choir (for example, I write our concert programmes). There have also been ‘special events’ including recording tracks from home under lockdown; trips to numerous cathedrals; and singing Christmas music at the Royal Academy of Arts and most recently the Musical Museum, Brentford, accompanied by ace organist and frequent Vivamus accompanist/conductor Richard Hills. I also met my wife, who has sung in Vivamus even longer than I have, in the choir – but that’s one for us all to chat about over a drink some time!
What advice would you give someone thinking about joining Vivamus?
I’d definitely recommend it. In the fourteen years or so since I joined, Vivamus has definitely helped me keep going at some difficult points – notably during lockdown. We have had a welcome influx of new joiners this year, who seem to be enjoying it. Singing is good for you! And if someone with no musical qualifications can be welcomed aboard, there is nothing to be afraid of!
Want to try out Vivamus for yourself? Let us know your interest.