New singing group making its debut in historic venue

The Oxford Times: Steph Pirrie and Philip Read outside the Holywell Music Room. Picture: OX67136 Cliff Hide Buy this photo Steph Pirrie and Philip Read outside the Holywell Music Room. Picture: OX67136 Cliff Hide

TWO Jericho choir leaders have started a new monthly singing group which will practise in some of Oxford’s most historic buildings.

Steph Pirrie and Philip Read, of Jericho, said the sessions will be aimed at people who may not be able to commit to more regular meets.

Those who attend will get to learn a song in a day and then perform at the end of the meetings, the first of which will be on Saturday, June 28, from 9.45am.

Mum-of-three Mrs Pirrie said: “We have had a lot of interest so far and think that turnout at the first session should be very good.

“I run a community choir, the Jericho Singers, and so I have had a lot of experiences of people wanting to be included and get singing, but not necessarily having the time to regularly give up. That can be for loads of reasons, like having a busy family life. We wanted to create something that was much more self contained and we also wanted to share the experience of singing in nice buildings.”

The first venue will be the Holywell Music Room, in Holywell Street, the oldest performing concert hall in Europe. Other venues being considered include college chapels, theatres, and the Town Hall.

Mr Read, who runs Manchoir, Oxford’s men’s community choir, said: “Our experience tells us just how rewarding and fun it is to bring people from all walks of life together to sing.

“And the fact that we’re now going to be able to do this in some of this city’s most beautiful spaces is really exciting.”

Mrs Pirrie, who has been performing music since she was five years old, added: “Holywell is a simply breathtaking place when everybody performs together, and has amazing acoustics.

“We will hopefully get to sing in some other more unusual places around the city as well, that people may not know about.

“Oxford is perfect for it – there are so many historic gems dotted around.”

Tickets to Singing Saturdays cost £18 for adults and £8 for children aged 10 to 16.

For more information, visit singingsaturdays.co.uk

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