Welcome Chantal!

In an earlier post on the blog we celebrated Ann Brown, who has sung with the choir for 60 years.  In this post we welcome a new member, Chantal Beeston, who joined us in September.  We will continue to feature members of the choir over the coming months.

So how did Chantal feel about her first concert with us last Saturday (21 October), for the Samaritans? ‘I loved it – the sense of teamwork and camaraderie, all of us working towards the same goal after all those intensive rehearsals.  More than that, I felt a sense of belonging, of doing something just for me.’

Chantal, a soprano, moved to Bury St Edmunds in the summer with her husband Ben, a teacher, and Beatrix, their 18 month-old daughter.  Chantal is a music teacher, though she’s currently on maternity leave, and has taught children from nursery through to A level, most recently as Head of Performing Arts for the Prep School at Finborough School.

Although she trained as a singer, Chantal says ‘I haven’t done any proper singing for three years – when I was working full time it wasn’t a priority, and I also had many shows to produce and direct’.  So what brought her to the choir now?  ‘For my own wellbeing I needed to start singing again – I did my dissertation on the health benefits of choral singing, and the choir’s repertoire is exactly the kind of music I enjoy singing’.

From her teaching experience, which included a period in Marrakesh, Morocco, as Head of Music at the American school, she feels that everyone can sing if they allow themselves to try.  ‘I became a music teacher and am passionate about it because everyone has a voice, it’s free, it’s accessible, and it’s so enjoyable just to do it’.

Her favourite music is the French choral repertoire, especially Faure and Debussy, ‘and I also love classic English music such as Handel’s Messiah, and some of the more modern repertoire like Giles Swayne – we sang some of his work when I was in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and I really enjoyed its exuberance and quirkiness’.

How does Chantal feel about the choir’s next concert on 16 December, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio aLavenham Church, which will be attended by both Ben’s parents and her own?  ‘I’m really looking forward to it – I don’t know the Oratorio and it’s quite tricky to sing, I really need to concentrate.  I’ve conducted but never sung at Lavenham, so it will be a lovely way to start the festive season’.

To find out about joining the choir or coming to our concerts visit burybachchoir.co.uk


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