For me there is no doubt that when we are facing trials and tribulations in our lives we have to sometimes force ourselves to get out and get on.

Believe me I know that it is not always easy.

About 4 years ago, when I was feeling as though everything was falling around my ears and I could do nothing to stop it, having been apart from my grandchild since 2007, I made one of the best decisions, I decided to sing!

I have always loved music of all genre and have always sung along,very badly, to the radio ect.

I was told of a community choir, a Gospel community choir where you didn’t have to audition, there was no pressure on anyone, just an opportunity for people to come together and make a sound.

I admit to being really nervous and wondered if I was going to be made to look foolish.

I walked into a local church and was faced with lots of people all nattering away to one another, so I crept in and just sat down.

I had no idea what was to follow.

Someone came to the front, a lady called Geraldine, and she welcomed everyone and smiled the most warm smile I had ever seen. We were asked to stand and started to do warm up exercises, stretching, humming, and lalala ing.

The choir was already part way through the term and so songs had already been learnt, no music required just your ears! As I can’t read music thought that was a bonus. Geraldine started to sing with one group who were all sitting on one side of the church, apparently sopranos, a quiver of fear rose as I had no idea what I was, soprano or alto, funny thing is I still don’t know.

I could hear my heart beating in my ears, let alone trying to hear the pitch of the song.

So it was altos turn, having got my head around the soprano bit, our bit was completely different , Oh Heck!

As I had no idea what I was attempting to sing, I just sort of mumbled away, then it was the mens turn,yet another different bit.

Geraldine asked us to stand, and what happened next was magical.

The whole choir started to sing in three part harmony, and I will never forget the sound that they created, I had goosebumps. The whole building was filled with an almost overpowering sense of well-being and togetherness.

Many voices coming together as one.

Each member of the choir were all there for their own individual reasons, all with their own stories to tell.

For me, when I sang I felt as though all the hurt and isolation was no longer impenetrable, I could cope, I would cope, and I had to remember all that was good in my life.

Geraldine and her ability to think we were all ‘awesome ‘ is something that I will never forget, when I recently met her again after a break of many months, she had not forgotten me, she had not forgotten what we do, I for that moment felt ‘awesome’ again.

I have said many times before that along this journey I have met some extraordinary people, and Geraldine, Carey, Emma and Heather to name just a few are some of them.

I will be eternally grateful to Gospel Generation Community Choir for being the light in what can sometimes be a very dark place.

The roots of Gospel singing goes back a long way, but all the songs are songs of hope. People who faced and sadly continue to face dreadful, terrible times but who never gave up hope.

I would urge anyone who is feeling that they are not able to work through their hurt and pain to find a choir and go and sing your heart out.

Jane