7 December 2012

At Home for Christmas! with ‘One Voice’ choir

Christmas time brings with it a mixture of emotions from excitement, anticipation, laughter and joy to stress and sometimes tears via presents, food, late nights and family. Music is an integral part of the Yuletide celebrations. Whether the sound of an organ pounding out well-known carols or the reminding of a familiar song from way back, challenging our memories to support our warm feelings or the latest Christmas pop song filled with jingles and rhythms that lighten another Christmas shopping venture.

It has been said that ‘Music can change the world because it can change people’ (Bono). The music industry over the last 150 years must rank with some of the largest industries in the world. Music has inspired, moved and changed people’s direction in life with, in some cases, melodies being memorised for life.

In 2008 a TV program featured a musical leader/conductor who found and challenged some ordinary people from an estate in Oxford and inspired them by using their energy, dreams and voices to sing in the Royal Albert Hall. A miracle you say! Sure but within the reach of many. This inspired a lady who had seemingly much against her in the form of arriving in Weymouth from another country, with English as her third language and no local contacts nor television cameras to support her, to use her talents to create another miracle.

Beginning in Littlemoor with a small keyboard and the support of a resident who believed in the local community, she pressed forward and tried to recruit some willing voices. And so ‘One Voice’ choir was born. It took almost two years before the choir was well established with members from across Weymouth & Portland. Grazina Ellis had the credentials with a MA (MUS) supported by a short degree from Bournemouth University that assisted her English language. Alongside her she has had wonderful support from Phil Williams an organist, accompanist, flautist and music arranger. ‘One Voice’ Weymouth is still in the growth stage. In a short period, the choir has sung in a park, on the beach, in large churches and small halls before large audiences and sometimes a few and even sponsored the visit of, and performed with, a youth orchestra from Grazina’s homeland, Lithuania. Within this month alone, diverse causes will have been supported with supporting performances in a Christmas Spectacular in Osmington and a local Hospice in Weymouth/Dorchester.

The choir’s Christmas concerts this year is titled ‘At Home for Christmas!’ The inspiration has come from a song called ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ recorded in 1943 by Bing Crosby and later by Frank Sinatra and more recently, Michael Buble. The song is sung from the point of view of an overseas soldier during WWII, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family that he will be coming home, and to prepare the holiday for him including requests for “snow”, “mistletoe”, and “presents on the tree”. The song ends on a melancholy note, with the soldier saying “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” ‘One Voice’ exists to promote music in many varied forms - in performing, in appreciation and in the promotion of positive music sharing. We appreciate that music means different things to different people but by acknowledging and attempting to increase the world-wide music family, we will be promoting a better society and good health.

We would be delighted to welcome you to our concert at St. John’s Church Greenhill on Sunday 9th December at 4.00pm. 

John Ellis
‘One Voice’ Chairman

Weymouth & Portland Advertiser, Dorset Echo
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