Happy second anniversary Sirens!

City SirensI can’t believe it’s been two years! It was an ordinary September morning when I received an email from a big choir in Cardiff who had decided to close their waiting list. I’d been on it for about a year after moving to экскурсии из Нижнего Новгорода Cardiff and was very sad. But I noticed something, all the girls on the waiting list (and it was all girls because there are always more women than men who want to be involved in the arts) had been “cc’d” or copied into the email. I thought – why not get all these Social at Giovanni's in Cardiff!lovely ladies together to sing?

I popped an email to the ladies on the list to see if I could start something up with them. Although I’d been in an A Capella choir at university which I became the President of, I have never really learnt to read music and certainly couldn’t teach anyone! I asked in the email if anyone knew anyone who could help.

10464013_423958574412350_4643447921410100785_nAmazingly, one of the ladies on the list lived in the same building as Tom Colwell, a professional singer and teacher and before I knew it I was chatting to Tom in my work’s kitchen and we decided to meet up to find out what we could do. Tom had taught choirs before and was keen to help in this venture.

The first rehearsal took place in Wonderland Studios and we started with a Christmas carol – I think it may have even been Away in a Manger (sounds so tingly in three part harmony!) Christmas Concert 2014The next week we moved into Cathays Methodist Church which has been our home ever since. Around the end of November we decided to showcase the four songs we had managed to get together and invite our friends and family. Then we had minced pies and mulled wine!

In January we started again and spent most of that year with about 10 members. It was hard. But by the time the second Christmas concert rolled round, this time in a real venue and with tickets we’d sold, we had a real, proper choir. And things have gone from strength to strength. Even the change IMG_7512from last Christmas to this year’s summer concert is evident if you listen to our recordings.

CKR8O6FWcAA7TkFWe’ve been so lucky and called upon many favours and we’ve now had five musical directors who we would not be here without. Thank you to each and every one of the lovely ladies who has been a member over any part of the last two years. I’m excited about our next concert in the Norwegian Church and hope you can come along for some festive cheer!

Here’s to another successful year!

Welcoming our new committee!

LogoLast night the choir met for the first time of the Autumn season, taking on their first Christmas song! It may be early but we think our Christmas Concert is going to be on Friday 11 December, so we need to get moving!

We were also happy to welcome Julian Martin as our Musical Director, who brought a very jazzy feel to the lesson.

We also held our annual general meeting and electing our new committee. We are pleased to welcome:

Chairperson – Emma Sands

Treasurer – Rhianne Haig

Secretary – Valentina Bianchi

Social Secretary – Amy Winter

Publicity Officer – Vanessa Oldham

Ordinary Members – Cat Bailie and Beth Evans

We are pleased to be working on a number of new ideas for the year ahead, which we will share in due course.

Unfortunately we are now currently at capacity – we won’t be accepting new members at this time unless we find we need extra people in certain parts.

Come and join us!!

City Sirens Summer Concert 2015 in Norwegian Church

City Sirens Summer Concert 2015 in Norwegian Church

City Sirens currently have the following vacancies (as of September 2015):

– Two soprano 1 positions

– One soprano 2 position

– Three alto positions


But I can’t read music..!

You don’t actually need to be able to read music to sing with us. Whilst some of our members do, many rely on recording the rehearsal to help them learn their part.

The members’ section on our website also contains music sheets and recordings to help with learning the repertoire.

What about rehearsals?

We are based in Cathays Methodist Church (Cardiff), and meet every Tuesday from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

We will be starting our autumn term on Tuesday 8th September looking ahead to a Christmas concert in December.

We do not audition new joiners, but we do ask that you are committed to rehearsals, and therefore do not miss a rehearsal unless absolutely necessary.

We hope to perform at least three concerts a year, and try out new things including keeping it social!

How do I join?

If you would like to join us, or ask more information, please email citysirenscardiff@gmail.com

Vacancies will be assigned on a first-come first-served basis.

City Sirens perform at the Welsh Proms!

Yesterday, Sunday 19 July, some of the Sirens were lucky enough to be involved with the Welsh Family Prom at St David’s Hall in the city centre.CKR8O6FWcAA7TkF

The prom itself was themed around an award ceremony giving out awards to instruments which made the music possible. From Jurassic Park to Star Wars, the Lion King and the Hunger Games, there was something for all the family.

We were invited to take part in a ‘flash mob’ style event, picking up some of the verses in The Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games and we dressed up like glamorous ladies attending an awards ceremony!

The day began with a run through with other members of different choirs who had learnt the piece as well, and after a dress rehearsal we took to our seats as the crowds took to theirs, ready to make a surprise performance towards the end of the show!

The performance went very well and many members of the audience were indeed very surprised by the moment when we all starting getting to our feet, joining in the singing with the performers on stage at intervals. Then we sat down and enjoyed the rest of the show.

The day was compered by the fantastic Wynne Evans and the show was clearly very well received, with huge applause at the end. Finally we got to see our names in lights, rolling as the credits went off into the distance ‘Star Wars style’.

We’re looking forward to more flash mobs and ad hoc performances in the future! After such a wonderful day we went out for a few drinks to celebrate too.

We will be breaking from next Tuesday until the beginning of September for our summer break. Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter to ensure you keep up to date with our work, the date for our Christmas concert and, if you’re interested in joining us, any vacancies we have!

Norwegian Church to host City Sirens

We are very pleased that we will be taking on our biggest venue yet; the beautiful Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, on Thursday 25 June 2015, at 7.30pm.Norwegian_Church,_Cardiff - Nick_Russill

Featuring lots of new material and some golden oldies we will be taking on the musicals, Disney and some classic pop songs!

Tickets are on sale now, and you can buy them through our Facebook page, or from Ticketsource.co.uk

We would be delighted if you could join us, so please avoid disappointment by getting your ticket now!

Image courtesy of Nick Russill

A private appointment with the Musical Director

As part of the membership package when you join City Sirens, our membership is entitled to one free singing lesson with our chief Musical Director, Tom Colwell. Jessica, an Alto was one of the first members to take up this offer. We asked her to tell us what she experienced and gained from having a one-to-one with Tom.

Jessica            “Having grown up singing in eisteddfodau, I’m used to singing in front of people. It does give me butterflies sometimes, but I don’t tend to experience any feelings of terror. However, singing in front of a professional and potentially being told I’d been doing it wrong all these years was going to be an interesting experience!

The first thing Tom asked me to do in the lesson was to sing something for him to showcase my voice. I chose to sing Calon Lân, a traditional Welsh song that I’ve known since childhood. I belted it out, starting on an appropriately low note (I am an alto after all!), and gave it my all.

One of the things Tom spotted was that I was using my jaw and throat quite a lot to generate the loud alto sounds I’m used to emitting. Apparently, there shouldn’t be any tension here when you’re singing, so a lot of the exercises we did revolved around trying to get me to sing using my stomach muscles to create the sound, and taking the remaining tension out of the throat and jaw by using my facial muscles to help.

I also told Tom that I have trouble singing quietly, something it is essential we are able to do in choir. Tom got me doing some exercises to practise proper breathing, and looking in the mirror to practise correct posture (those few years of ballet lessons came in quite handy). After practising the various exercises, the most revealing activity that Tom asked me to do was to sing up and down in fifths, going up by one note of the scale each time: I made it all the way up to a top G which was a revelation for a confirmed alto!

By the end of the lesson, I felt so much better about my singing: I felt physically more relaxed, in the whole of my body and particularly in my face and jaw; I’d discovered that my range was quite a bit bigger than I’d always believed; I didn’t feel any pain in my vocal chords anymore from trying to hit certain notes; and all the techniques I’d learnt, I’d be able to apply to my singing in choir. I now use them every single week when we sing, and can’t wait for my voice to continue to develop and get stronger.”

Tom has a few spaces each week in his busy teaching schedule. If you would be interested in having a singing lesson with Tom, you can find out more at singinglessonscardiff.com. 

Christmas Concert 2014

Christmas message from City Sirens

The choir which started from a waiting list may soon be a choir with its own waiting list!

When we started the group, we aimed to get to around 25 members. We have been lucky enough to get more than that and we now have 30 – 10 of each part. We are currently keeping an alto space open, as one of our longest serving members is on maternity leave, but we do want to make sure that she can come back so unfortunately can’t make that space available permanently at this time.

We have gone from strength to strength in 2014 and our sold out Christmas concert was a definite high point. We have also performed at the Vale Resort’s Christmas craft fair, Chapter Arts Festive Food Fair and had another concert in our rehearsal home, Cathays Methodist Church.

We’ve also been featured in the South Wales Echo and have had amazing support from many people. So, as it’s Christmas, we’d like to say a proper thank you to everyone at Cathays Methodist Church, James Davies from Compass Media Relations, Julian Martin who as the husband to one of our lovely members and dad to another two members, has arranged a number of songs for us. We’d also like to thank and show support for small business printers Touch Paper Graphics on Crwys Road, and Gerald J Davies who stepped in at the last moment to ensure we had safe fairy lights at our Christmas concert!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2014 – and we hope that you will stay with us in 2015 for more musical fun and splendour!