Meet the Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fran Andre

Choir Director

Soul of the City Gospel Choir was born in April 2019, out of my wholehearted love for black music ? the funky rhythms, the soulfulness, the heart bursting joy of it, the fact that I couldn?t listen to it without dancing! It totally thrills me! For many years previous I had been dreaming of creating a group that brought together my love of black music and my desire to create a really high quality kick ass performing ensemble. And this year, I finally felt ready so I dived in and made it happen. It has been such a trip already, and I feel truly blessed by the wonderful singers and hearts that have come my way to be in this group with me. They inspire me, make me laugh, and are such a hardworking bunch. Such a lucky choir leader I am!

Team

Sopranos

Clair

Growing up in a musical household and singing in church choirs got me started ? music has been a constant in my life. After performing a lot in my teens, and 20s, I later got great joy from singing Motown and Stax classics as part of local band Souled. Then Soul of the City appeared in my life, and I absolutely love being part of this choir family and the new challenges it brings. Top tip: I?ve done a lot in music with a completely non-formal music education ? don?t ever be put off by the dots, just feel the music in your soul.

Emily

Music and singing have been a huge and treasured part of my life. After losing our son in 2014, I neglected song for a few years. Joining the Soul of The City Gospel Choir has re-awakened my love for singing, particularly with other voices. Singing in harmony is a release and cannot help but move and lift the spirits to elating heights.

Charlie

Humming, whistling or singing (my neighbours can confirm this). I was fortunate to have an incredible music department at high school, and over the years since then I have played and sung in church bands, various choirs and orchestras, and the odd wedding. I am thrilled to have found Soul of the City, a choir bursting with energy and fun, with the talented and inspiring Fran at the helm. A place where I love to join my voice with others? to make a wonderful sound!

Gillian

I think my earliest memory of singing was on a school bus trip in Primary School where I sang, using the bus driver?s microphone, ?I?ll Be Your Long Haired Lover From Liverpool?. Since then I am happy to say my musical tastes have improved and my love of music now varies from artists such as John Denver to The Carpenters to Biffy Clyro and most things in between. I am always singing both inside and outside the home resulting in very embarrassed offspring at times. Being part of a choir is something I cherish, not only as I get to sing with such enthusiastic and talented people but also for the unique bond that is created between the choir and their Musical Director.

Rachel

Ever since I was young I have loved singing and performing; starting with the church choir and school shows. More recently, I have also sung in a local community choir and been involved in musical theatre productions which have been a source of great joy to me.
I absolutely love being part of the Soul of the City choir family! Every week I feel grateful to sing such heartfelt, joyful and uplifting songs with such a talented group of beautiful people.

Helen

I have always loved singing. I think it all started with assemblies in primary school and singing in church and has escalated to singing in choirs, performing at the occasional open mic night and of course the obligatory car concerts on the way to and from work. I remember feeling the joy of harmonising and singing with others and it still brings me the same feeling. I have been part of a few choirs since moving to Exeter and I have definitely found a home with Soul of the City. Singing is one of those incredible things that can instantly improve your mood and just bring you so much joy. When you hear those harmonies it is just magic!

Team

Altos

Lucie H

Growing up I loved singing ? at home, at church and at school. I did an occasional performance with my sister as part of the local operatic society and was briefly in a band as a student. There was a long period in my life when I didn?t do any formal singing. I rediscovered the joy it brought after going to a singing camp and then joining a number of local choirs. I haven?t really looked back. It now feels fundamental to my life and sense of wellbeing. I love performing and I love the sense of community. I had no idea there was so much to be learnt about singing and I?m really enjoying the challenge in Soul of the City to constantly improve the quality of our performances.

Emma P

I enjoyed performing at summer balls and parties with a barbershop group at university. Since graduating I have been on the look out for a friendly, joyful choir, whose members are inspired and committed to making wonderful music to share with others. I was thrilled to find, and be welcomed in to, Soul of the City Gospel Choir. I love the buzz that comes from working as a team to create a magical, spine-tingling sound.

Tina

I met a member of the choir by chance last summer and we became instant friends. She introduced me to Fran and her choir family and I am so happy that she did! I had never thought about being in a gospel choir before. I love to sing but I never thought I would be good enough to join a professional group. I was so proud of myself for even auditioning and when I got in it gave me the confidence boost I needed. I was going through a particularly difficult time battling depression and anxiety and I owe so much of my recovery to the choir. The music is incredibly healing and the love and support from the choir members is truly invaluable, I am back to my happy bouncy self again! A massive thank you my fabulous little family.?

Fiona

?I am a one to one singing, beginner guitar and songwriting tutor and workshop facilitator. I work with students of all ages and abilities, both privately and through not-for-profit organisations. I studied at Leeds College of Music specialising in pop music, songwriting, tutoring and community music.

Julie

l?ve always had a love for singing and music. School days were full of concerts and performances. I played stringed instruments from the age of 5. Later I became the lead singer of a band at University and enjoyed singing the classics of the time, such as Roxanne by ?The Police? I feel privileged to be a member of this choir. It is so joyful and uplifting to be together every week. It?s very energetic and leaves you feeling fantastic and the community vibe is fabulous. This is by far me best choir experience.

Molly B

Having only ever sung in the car/shower/karaoke before, auditioning for the choir was a real challenge for me. And I?m so glad I did! It?s most definitely the highlight of my week singing alongside such incredible voices. I?m trying to channel my inner Lauryn Hill!

Debs

I have been involved in singing since joining my primary school choir and have never looked back! I come from a family of singers and so it is definitely in the genes. I have sung in various choirs and local bands, fronting a local band in Cornwall for over ten years. My highlight was singing to a busy festival crowd in Calstock overlooking the Tamar on a sunny May Day. Now, I am really enjoying being part of Soul of the City a warm, friendly and vibrant choir and looking forward to more singing adventures.

Team

Tenors

Mark

When I was about eight years old I sang in the church and school choirs until leaving school, apart from the odd bit of amateur dramatics I hadn?t really sung again since then. I?ve always had a passion for music anything you can dance too, whether it be soul classics, disco or house music, as I?ve grown older I?ve discovered the music and dance of Electro swing, Lindy hop, salsa and tango. I started singing again 8 years ago in a community choir which was great fun. I then heard auditions were taking place for Soul of the City and very nervously went along, to my delight I got in. The songs we sing & the people are an absolute joy and inspiration! We?ve become a great choir family.

Nell

Whether channelling Piaf on the Pont Neuf or Pavarotti in Pompeii, I?ve always loved performing! So being on the incredible Soul of the City musical journey with such a fabulous bunch of talented, creative and inspiring people fills me with joy. I am hugely proud to be a tenor lady in our wonderful choir family, sharing the uplifting spirit and healing power of singing.

Pippa

As I child I loved singing in school every morning, and belting songs out on clamorous family car journeys, but I really found my voice blockading outside Greenham Common. There is something so powerful and uplifting about making a communal sound that is greater than the sum of its parts. Soul of the City offers that joyful experience on a weekly basis, with a repertoire of wonderful songs taught with precision and flair and sung with a fabulous bunch of people.

Christine

I have always loved singing and the joy it brings to others and to me! I have been fortunate that singing has been a constant in my life whether that was in choirs, function bands or as part of church worship. I have sung in a variety of choirs from choral to community but my love has always been for gospel music. My singing highlight was singing in a duo in front of 2000 people at an event in London. I am looking forward to more highlights as part of the wonderful Soul of the City choir

Jemma

I?m never not singing and music is my life! I started working at the Academy of music and sound last year and have been inspired by the students and encouraged by my colleagues so here I am. This is my first time singing outside of the work office, the car or in the shower! And its great to be part of such an uplifting amazing group of people!

Gillie

I?ve sung in choirs and shows since school, and singing with friends and family is always a joy. I was so excited when I heard that Fran was bringing a new soul and gospel choir to Exeter and even more excited to be invited to join. In my head I?m a magnificent singer, in the shower I can let rip, but it is being part of the choir family that fosters a deeper connection with my own singing voice. I?m a voice coach and voice therapist specialising in trans and non binary voice and have a passion for coaching people on their vocal journey. Singing with Soul of the City is part of my own journey with my voice and such a rich personal experience feeds my practice.

Jayne

I?ve been singer / songwriter / keyboard player and budding percussionist since I was 16 and have been a Frontwoman in several original Funk and Soul influenced bands in the South West over the years. I have always been inspired by music with heart, soul, natural rhythm and depth and by singers with big voices! I have worked in the studio alongside Electronic Music Producers writing vocals, harmonies and keyboards for original tracks. I also spent 10 years DJing and running nights and events and have also been part of the UKs first ever Drum and Bass Choir in Bristol.

Now in Devon life is a little bit quieter. I have recently joined Soul of the City Gospel Choir.? It?s great- The songs are brilliant, they really uplift you and the group is super friendly and talented, who could ask for more?!

Team

Bass

Adrian

I used to sing tenor, but now I?m a bass. Despite my identity crisis, the choir is my weekly fix of me time. Singing is great for my stress levels and I really look forward to our weekly rehearsals and the buzz of the gigs. I?ve never had any formal singing coaching unless you count being in a Beatles tribute band at university! If I was to sum up the choir in three words I?d say? Social. Challenging. Fun. Uplifting. Joyful. Inspiring. Relaxing. Rhythmic. Maths was never my strong point.

Neil

Neil has been producing digital music since he was 14. At the age of 19 he toured Germany with his Hip Hop outfit called the Dookie Squad and he has had over 10 vinyl releases since 1994. He?s recorded and engineered many genres of music from Jazz to Drum and Bass in some incredible recording studios including Acid Jazz, London. He?s worked with many incredible artists including Roy Ayers, Jim Mullen and Hamish Stuart (Average White Band) to name a few and decided to join the choir after seeing us play in December 2019. Today some might know him as Beach Cams Man or the vlogger from Dawlish Beach Cams as he has a large following bringing live streams of Dawlish to the world.

Mike

I have been involved in music from the age of 6 from my first piano lesson , discovering radio Luxembourg in the 70,s through guitar bands , sax (briefly, and inadequately ) to singing now , and enjoyed every bit of it . Love this choir , though I?ve only been in for a short while , and can?t wait to do a few gigs

Rob

I love the feeling of joy, aliveness and connection that comes from singing, and particularly singing with other people. My love of singing began at an early age performing in musical theatre and stage productions. I have enjoyed being in a number of great local choirs and musical theatre groups over the years and now feel I have found my singing home. Fabulous uplifting songs, arranged by an enthusiastic and talented choir leader, that encourages us to sing for the stars, accompanied by a musical magician with a wonderful group of supportive, positive souls. Soul Of The City you ROCK!