We have decided to run a monthly feature on our website introducing members of our choir so you can find out what drives them, what they love about choir and also help you to decide if joining the WAGS choir could be right for you.
Today we are interviewing Michelle O’ Neill who has been a member of the choir since September 2014.
How did you find out about Choir?
My sister first told me about it and said, “You like to sing, you should go!” Then one day when I was walking home I could hear all of the singing, I went into the church and sat at the back listening. I fell in love with the music and the sounds and thought, “Why don’t I join and see what I can do?”
Why did you join?
I have a four year old son and I often find that I don’t see anyone, I just work and come home. Aggie showed me how easy it was to get my son into the crèche so having him would not affect me joining. Socially, joining the choir has been fantastic. I am now around so many people and women who have made me feel so welcome. I am no longer isolated or ignored, everyone is in exactly the same boat with music and singing in common no matter what our husbands do.
What do you get out of choir?
Everything. It is a couple of hours where I am not at home and I can switch off in a social environment filled with fun and laughter. It helps me switch off from the day and it is something I do just for me.
What would you say to other people who are thinking of joining?
Join! You don’t have to be good at singing. It helps, but if you just want to go and meet somebody, find companionship, you can. I watched the video of ‘Stronger Together’ and it was just so nice, everyone looked so happy and I wanted to do that. I wanted to be in a group of people where no one really knows your business unless you want to tell them. If you have had a bad day you can get it over and done with, everyone has their own problems, but they can go to choir, have a chat, have a cup of tea and a sing and that’s it, no drama!
Have you done a concert yet with the WAGS?
Yes one, the Seasons one in Richmond. I was so nervous and felt sick but my Mum and Dad came along with my son. I don’t like being in front of lots of people and I felt that everyone was looking at me, but I know they weren’t!
I was surprised how many people turned up. To see the support and people listening and enjoying what we were doing, I was on such a high when I went home. My son was clapping and very excited and he thought I was really good - he’s my biggest fan!
You don’t think of all the work that goes on behind the scenes into preparing for a concert. The rehearsal time, knowing all the words.
What part do you sing?
Soprano 2. I can sort of read music and used to play the violin, but lots of people can’t read music.
What is your favourite song to sing?
There have been so many, but probably ‘Phantom of the Opera’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber, I love that song. I went home and watched it all on Youtube straight after and thought, ‘that was me!’
What’s been one of your best memories?
We did an amazing away day two Sundays ago where we sang with two gospel singers and then in the afternoon we had some movement lessons to our songs trying to get us to dance. It was brilliant and a great bonding day for the choir. We are very English and once we got over the embarrassment it was fine, but it was so funny!
How has being in the Choir helped you?
It is the best thing to keep you going, it’s a support system and there is always someone to listen to you and help. It is like a night out, everyone just wants to have a breather from life, we can be ourselves for two hours and you don’t have to worry about anything.