beatSCAD: An Update Five Years Still Alive and Kicking!

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Hello fellow Scadsters!

A couple of weeks ago, Becks Breslin, a pioneer of the UK beatSCAD charity, asked me to provide an update on what life is like five years post SCAD.

The beatSCAD website has lots of useful information for those newly diagnosed with this scary and bewildering condition.  I really wish it had been around five years ago when every cough, sneeze, ache or pain threw me into panic mode thinking I would have another dissection.

Anyway, still alive and kicking, this is the update I provided for the website:

I’m now over five years post SCAD, just coming up to 55 and the happiest I have ever been in my life. So what’s changed?
    1. I got healthy through eating well and exercising moderately (gardening, yoga, walking, badminton)
    2. I chucked my stressful job and now write a 50 plus lifestyle blog over at https://flowerpowerlife.wordpress.com/
    3. I re-joined my choir (Chester Ladies) and will become chairman next month.  We are a registered charity and I will be doing lots of public speaking (as well as singing of course!).
    4. My strategy for the future is ‘always have the next holiday booked’ so you have to be there for it!
    5. I travel extensively, although on a budget.  The picture is of me on the Brooklyn Bridge during a recent girls only trip to NYC!
    6. I don’t have much cash any more, but I spend on experiences, not things, which are no longer important.
    7. I’ve embraced charity shops!
    8. I am no longer scared of lifts (the worst already happened and I survived)
    9. I no longer get panic attacks (ditto)
    10. I still get premature atrial contractions, days when I’m exhausted, and days when my heart seems to play up all day, but I have faith that it will pass, so I don’t dwell on it.  I take my medication and hope for the best.
So what does the future hold?  Well, I’m thinking I may reach menopause this year (it’s now seven months since my last period) with the hope that my PACS will go away, or at least improve.  I’m waiting for my referral to Dr Adlam to come through so that I can perhaps ditch some of this medication.  I want to travel more, blog more, experience more, do more and just have fun.  I’m saying ‘yes’ to everything I can!

 

 

The Chester Ladies’ Choir : Vocal Makeover

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Do you watch those programmes where someone takes a property in need of some TLC and turns it into a sparkly new, bang up to date, palace? I do too.

Well, something similar is happening to the choir that I sing with, Chester Ladies.  We’ve been working with our new musical director David Bebbington BMus (Hons), PGCert, MA, DipLSM, FLCM, FHEA for about nine months now.

David is a talented vocal coach, pianist and teacher as well as a long established musical director and is bringing a fresh approach to learning and performing choral music.

Rehearsals now include vocal warm ups, tips and techniques on how to improve the voice, and a distinct focus on perfecting rhythm and musicality.  Many of the choir are reporting an improvement in their vocal range as a result of the exercises.

We’ve been tackling some really tricky pieces such as Bill Withers classic Lean On Me, which is not only vocally challenging, but requires sound effects which make us giggle but are certainly effective.
There’s no doubt that being in our choir is not an easy, once a week hobby.  It requires commitment to learning words, as we perform without copies, and we are encouraged to stretch ourselves vocally.  You never know what you can achieve until you try.
We welcome new members, so if you love to sing and are willing to commit your time and energy to being a better singer, then why not give us a try?
Details are on our website http://www.chesterladieschoir.co.uk/
 

Christmas With The Chester Ladies’ Choir

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When you sing with a choir, Christmas starts early.  Very early.  In fact we started learning Christmas music in October, so it’s fair to say we are pretty consumed by the season of goodwill already, even though it’s still two weeks away.

This week there have been two Christmas concerts.  Our main event was at Wesley Church Chester where we showcased our seasonal repertoire which includes firm favourites White Christmas and Winter Wonderland as well as sacred pieces Pavanne For A Silent Night and Gaudete.

Our audience had to do their bit too, with a sing along of Saviour’s Day to end the night.

We had some amazing guests:  Dylan Cernyw on harp and local Chester singers Megan Lamour and John Henry.  If you have never heard a harp played professionally, then seek out one of Dylan’s performances.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

We raised £248 for Guide Dogs, a charity which is especially close to our hearts, as one of our choir members, Clare, will have her own guide dog in the new year.

Our second gig was at Chester’s St Mary’s Centre, where we were guests of Theatre In The Quarter, celebrating choral music with ‘Joy To The World’.  We shared the stage with some wonderful local choirs: Dee Sign Choir, Hoole Community Choir, Dragonsong and Hope Street Harmonies. The atmosphere was buzzing as Matt Baker hosted this fun evening which was a real treat for anyone who loves to hear a choir sing.

Of course, it’s not over yet!  Next week we are singing for a local charity and will also be at M&S Outlet Cheshire Oaks singing carols to raise money for Guide Dogs.

If you would like to be doing this next Christmas, then why not join us in January?  We meet at St Luke’s Huntington 7:30 to 9:30 Tuesday evenings.

Enjoy your Christmas, music lovers!

 

 

 

 

The Chester Ladies’ Choir Celebrating Sixty Years of Song!

I make no apologies for singing the praises of The Chester Ladies’ Choir!   We are a fabulous group of ladies who meet once a week to exercise our vocal chords and have a good old get together at the same time.

Choir in full voice in Midsomer North Meth Church - P1000299

2015 is a very special year for us. Established in 1955, we are celebrating our 60th year next month with a Diamond anniversary concert in Chester Cathedral on Saturday 16th May 7:30 p.m.  Our guests will be The City of Chester Male Voice Choir, The City Of Chester Brass Band and Welsh composer and entertainer Robat Arwyn.  Matt Baker is Master of Ceremonies.

I’ve been in the choir on and off since the early eighties and have seen many changes, including working with a couple of musical directors: Rodney T Jones and before him, Peter Dalton, although Brenda Harper, our longest serving member could name some others!  This year, Rod is leaving us and we will be welcoming our new MD David Bebbington from next month.

At our Diamond Concert we will be performing a specially commissioned piece from composer Robat Arwyn.  This is a world premiere and we’re sure it will be a huge hit!

Back in 1955 the choir was known as the Upton Ladies’ Choir and had twenty five members under the direction of its founder Ronald Hugh Smith. These days, we have around sixty members and regularly perform concerts in and around Chester and other parts of the UK. Our latest tour was to Bath, and previous tours have included Newquay in Cornwall, Bangor in Northern Ireland and we’ve been as far afield as Malta where we performed in the world renowned M’dina Cathedral.

If you would like to come to our concert on 16 May, you can buy tickets online here
http://www.chestercathedral.com/events/book-tickets.html