Who are we?
Red Leicester Choir are an enthusiastic group of about 30 people with a passion for singing in unaccompanied four-part harmony. Originally a Worker’s Education Association (WEA) evening class, Songs of Struggle and Celebration from Around the World, we became an independent choir in 1996. We aim to be open access, so we have no auditions. We are members of Musicians Against Nuclear Arms (MANA) and the National Federation of Music Societies (Making Music).
When and where do we meet?
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings during school term time, from 7.30 to 9.30 at Secular Hall, Humberstone Gate, Leicester (opposite Sainsbury’s). The hall we use is on the ground floor so if you come by bike, feel free to bring it in with you. The hall is fully accessible for wheelchair users, with a disabled toilet on the ground floor. There are regular bus services to Humberstone Gate and Charles Street, and on-street car parking is available nearby. After rehearsals, some of us go for a drink at The Ale Wagon on Charles Street, and everyone is welcome to come along.
What do we sing?
Red Leicester’s repertoire comes from all over the world and includes historical and contemporary songs expressive of social and political protest, and songs of worldwide celebration, struggle and change. Our influences include the peace movement, civil rights, women’s movement, gay rights, workers’ rights and environmental issues. We encourage creative talent in the choir; several of the members have penned witty and satirical lyrics to well-known tunes, with stirring harmonies provided by arrangements composed by our musical director, Jane Bursnall. We learn both by ear and with sheet music.
Where do we sing?
We perform locally and nationally in support of national and international causes. Each year, in June/July, we perform at the National Street Music Festival (in Hebden Bridge this year). Every two years we perform at Raise Your Banners Festival of Political Song in Bradford. Several choir members take an active part in running Leicester Sing for Water, which has taken place during the Riverside Festival for the past six years, raising over £30,000 for WaterAid.
How are we funded?
Members pay subscriptions to cover the costs of running the choir. These include the hire of rehearsal space, musical director fees, sheet music, insurance and membership of other organisations. Subscription rates on a sliding scale are £60 (waged), £35 (low waged) and £12 (unwaged), payable three times a year at the start of each term. It is also possible to pay half a term at a time. New members are charged £1 per week for three weeks while they decide if they want to join. We sometimes charge other organisations for our performances. Bookings can be arranged by contacting Veronica on 0116 2703143.
How are we organised?
Red Leicester Choir operates democratically, with a Management Committee, a Repertoire Group, and an Annual General Meeting. Meetings are open to all members and minutes are always available. We have a constitution, which is available on request.
How do I join Red Leicester?
You can come along to a rehearsal at any time of the year (please remember that we only meet during school term times though!) New/prospective members are always made very welcome. We will only ask you to pay £1 a week for your first three visits, while you decide if this is the right choir for you. We will help you to find the part (bass, tenor, alto or soprano) that suits you and to pick up some of the words and notes we are all learning. If you would like to speak to someone before coming along, you can call Veronica on 0116 2703143. Every year we have a special New Members’ Evening in September.