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  • Writer's pictureTanya Lawrence

The Journey of Fylde Coast Veterans Choir

by Musical and Creative Director, Tanya Lawrence

Before the pandemic swept in and paused our singing adventures, I found myself at the helm of a bustling vocal coaching studio. Throughout 2019, I couldn't help but notice a steady flow of military veterans making their way to my door, all convinced that singing held a special place in their lives.


These wonderful individuals, aged roughly between twenty-eight and forty-eight, shared a common sentiment: a feeling of being a bit adrift in civilian life. Some missed the structured rhythm of military life, while others longed for the camaraderie and sense of purpose they once had.


But above all, there was a collective sense of being overlooked and unheard in civilian society. It was clear they struggled to find their place or build meaningful connections in their new civilian lives. Some even expressed a sense of being unappreciated for their service.


Knowing this couldn't be further from the truth, I was puzzled by their perceived disconnect and began to wonder why they hadn't explored joining singing groups or choirs. The prevailing belief seemed to be that they "wouldn't fit in."


Instead, many found themselves gravitating towards bars and clubs, where solo karaoke was the norm. They relied on alcohol to muster the courage to sing, often leaving with a sense of disappointment. The idea of singing as part of a group, without the crutch of alcohol, and with a clear goal of putting on a performance for an interested audience, didn't seem to cross their minds.


Alongside offering private vocal lessons, I've always run choirs as a safe space for inexperienced singers to build confidence on stage. Thus, the concept of the Fylde Coast Veterans Choir was born.


When I first introduced the idea at a few veterans' breakfast clubs, I encountered significant resistance. Many saw me as just another well-meaning soul with a band-aid solution. There was also the classic British reluctance to singing among men: "Singing is for girls," they'd say. Convincing them otherwise was no easy task.


But there was one local veteran who saw the potential. He graciously invited me to arrange a performance at one of his social events, and with the help of a dedicated male student, we began rehearsing a few iconic rock songs. Everything was falling into place until lockdown abruptly halted our plans.


Nearly two years later, as restrictions eased, everyone had moved on. Restarting the female choirs seemed like the logical first step, but the idea of a veterans' choir never left me. Now, with the unwavering support of my business partner, and the encouragement of a couple of local Veterans Champions, we're thrilled to relaunch the Fylde Coast Veterans Choir.


This is an opportunity for ex-military personnel to come together, receive some basic vocal training, and make their voices heard in the wider community. Our repertoire will range from sea shanties to rock anthems, spanning the decades from the 1970s to today. No auditions. No need to read music. No prior experience is required. Just a willingness to try something new.


So, if you know someone who might find joy and fulfilment in being a founding member, please encourage them to reach out. Together, let's create something beautiful and meaningful.

Microphones set up ready for singers to perform their song.
Would you like to be behind the microphone to sing?

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