Sudbury: From small ads mighty choirs grow

Musical Director Martyn Blagden leads the Sudbury Sings choir at St Peter's Church.

Musical Director Martyn Blagden leads the Sudbury Sings choir at St Peter's Church.

When music lover Martyn Blagden placed a small notice in the East Anglian Daily Times asking if anyone would be interested in joining a new choir, he had no idea how overwhelming the response would be.

The plea went out in January last year and by the end of the month, Sudbury Sings was formed with a small core of enthusiastic local singers.

Then word spread and every time they rehearsed or performed, their enthusiasm was infectious, and more and more people signed up to sing.

Less than a year later as they rehearsed for a big concert in St Peter’s Church, Sudbury Sings had swelled to 93 voices raising the roof with a their joyous rendition of a wide repertoire of popular songs.

Mr Blagden, who has dabbled in music and amateur dramatics for most of his life, told the EADT the idea was to create a vocal group that was “fun”. Consequently, there are no auditions to join the choir – all that is required is a reasonable ear for music and a love of singing.

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He told the EADT: “I started a choir in Brightlingsea a while ago and some friends in Sudbury asked if I would have a go at setting one up there.

“To be honest, I have been completely overwhelmed with the response which has been tremendous.

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“Gareth Malone (who set up the first Military Wives choirs) has done wonders for singing all over the country and has made it cool to sing.

“We didn’t want Sudbury Sings to have a corporate feel and what we’ve ended up with is like a big family with a great social feel.”

According to Mr Blagden, there are many benefits to singing, both physical and mental.

He continued: “Singing is really good for you. It increases lung capacity, improves posture, boosts mental alertness and even helps to maintain youthful good looks by exercising the facial muscles!”

The choir meets every Wednesday evening at Woodhall Primary School to practice an ever expanding catalogue of popular classics, many taken from the American songbook – and enjoy a half-time coffee and chat.

Brenda and Tony Brightwell, both from Sudbury, are among the choir members who look forward to the weekly rehearsal.

Mrs Brightwell said: “I hadn’t done any singing before apart from when I was a child but I thought it would be something completely different to have a go at – now I’m hooked.

“To be able to share our enjoyment of song with a group of like-minded people is such a great thing to do. We are so glad we responded to the piece in the paper.”

Mr Brightwell added: “There’s lots of information about how singing is good for you and when you get to know the music and see how it all fits together, then it’s really satisfying.

“Martyn has taken a disparate group of people with half an ear for music and has done absolute wonders with us. We call him the Gareth Malone of Sudbury.”

The choir is nearly full to capacity but if anyone is interested in joining, they can visit for more details.

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