Behind the scenes with the Clitheroe Pop Choir


A few singing students nagged their teacher to start a choir - and now there are more than 60 members. PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN COCKS

Two inspiring people – The Queen and Ray Davies of The Kinks – have helped a Ribble Valley choir to hit new heights.

The author of memorable songs such as Waterloo Sunset was the tutor when Clitheroe composer and singer Sue Sykora was one of the few people from across the world to be selected for a week-long song writing course.

The experience spurred Sue to write three songs to marking the Queen’s Jubilee, The Olympics and the Christmas holiday. They were recorded by the Clitheroe Pop Choir and produced as a CD called Everyone Shine.

Sue, one half of the professional musical duo Glory with husband Duncan, was urged to form the pop choir by singing pupils who didn’t want to join a conventional group. ‘It took me several years of thinking about it, but we got there in the end,’ she says.

From a handful of interested people, the choir has now risen to between 60 and 70 members, performing modern songs around the Ribble Valley. ‘They are a fantastic group of people and they’re always enthusiastic,’ says Sue.

‘Everyone says it’s a fun choir to be in and we have several people who work in the NHS who describe singing with us as a great stress-buster. One said it was liberating.’

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While the choir is popular with women, men have been a little harder to attract. ‘We do need more men for the bass section,’ she says. ‘ They might feel a little self-conscious because, being a pop choir, we include a few moves but they soon get used to it. And we don’t do auditions.’

The CD has been a high point of the past 12 months for the choir and the fact they received a letter back from the palace thanking them for the CD was the icing on the cake. ‘It has been an incredible year,’ adds Sue.

The three-track CD can be purchased and Townsend Records and Dawson’s in Clitheroe and the choir rehearses at the Oasis Room in St James’s Street, Clitheroe. People interested in joining should contact Sue on 07561 531655.