Members' stories

As well as working hard to develop our vocal technique and to be the best choir we can be, Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir is a warm and welcoming group in which fun and friendship are always a priority. This page features stories written by some of our members, other halves and valued fans, who all have something to say about life with DDLC!

Why join a choir?

Many people have experienced the elation and enjoyment of singing in a choir, it brings so many benefits on so many levels. Choir singing is the ultimate team event, everyone literally has a voice and contributes to the overall sound and performance. It is a social activity that brings people from all walks of life together, it provides regular contact with a familiar group and the challenge of concerts and competitions.

There is now evidence that choir singing has measurable health benefits. It lifts the mood and aids recovery from depression, it improves posture and breathing and can help those with a chronic respiratory condition, and it invigorates blood flow to the brain and vital organs.

My personal experience of choir singing has been quite extraordinary, I joined 10 years ago having never sung in a choir before. I could just about read music but had not looked at a manuscript since I was 10 years old. My only qualification was that I could sing in tune. When I first joined in 2005, I didn't know anything about choral singing and I found it very emotional, music moved and continues to move me to tears at times. Within 1 year I was singing on the front row of the Royal Albert Hall, along with approximately 800 singers from around the country at the triennial Cancer Research Festival of Music, an evening that I will never forget. As a choir we have gone from strength to strength since our musical director Sarah Ogden joined us, we learn all the time and our technical knowledge of the craft of singing continues to grow. I feel very proud of the small part I play in our accomplishments.

Karen Brereton

Sharon’s story

After much thought about wanting to join a choir in September 2012 I finally took the plunge and walked into my first rehearsal with Denby Dale Ladies choir. I have always been musical and played the organ from the age of 10 and still play for my own enjoyment today.

I was given a warm welcome by the entire choir and soon got into the swing of things and learnt how to listen to other voices and tones. The hardest part for me was learning the words to each song as we went along (no one told me we had to sing without music!! a challenge in itself). But with determination and dedication I am glad to say I love every minute of it. The practice sessions, workshops, concerts and competitions, it is one of the best things I have done in my life.

They say that singing is one of the best forms of stress relief and I can honestly say for me it works wonders. It is a very rewarding hobby for me and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about joining or would like to give it a try to come along and find out for themselves.

Sharon Wilkie

Emma’s story

Joining a choir is something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but due to family life I’ve never been able to fit it in. I’ve loved singing since I was in the school choir and have spent many years just singing along to the radio, but never in public! I recently moved to Denby Dale and saw a leaflet about the choir so I went along and listened for a few weeks. The members were so friendly and welcoming and I’ve never looked back.

Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir has changed my life… I’m no longer just Mum, I’m Me! I’ve already made lots of new friends, sung at Huddersfield Town Hall and found new confidence. Plus there’s nothing nicer than forgetting your worries and singing your heart out for a few hours every week, surrounded by so many lovely, welcoming, kind and funny women who all help and support each other.

Emma Farrington

New Challenge

Last summer 2015 the Morley arts festival put on a ten week programme for older people. Each Monday morning a group of us gathered, we had three weekly sessions with Yorkshire Dance, three with Phoenix Dance and three with Opera North. Sarah Ogden took the opera sessions and she frequently mentioned her ladies. You sounded a lovely group and I needed more music. I had left my previous choir since travelling at night in heavy traffic had become too difficult but new glasses and I was ready to try again. Sarah agreed that I could try Denby Dale Ladies.

I joined five weeks before the Christmas concerts and found myself facing the challenge of a lifetime. The travelling was easy compared to learning music and words by heart. Now two festivals later I again have lots of work to do.

I have always thought that I would sing anything until I heard the song Happy now I’m thinking this maybe one challenge too far.

Pauline Robinson

Emma’s story

Joining a choir is something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but due to family life I’ve never been able to fit it in. I’ve loved singing since I was in the school choir and have spent many years just singing along to the radio, but never in public! I recently moved to Denby Dale and saw a leaflet about the choir so I went along and listened for a few weeks. The members were so friendly and welcoming and I’ve never looked back.

Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir has changed my life… I’m no longer just Mum, I’m Me! I’ve already made lots of new friends, sung at Huddersfield Town Hall and found new confidence. Plus there’s nothing nicer than forgetting your worries and singing your heart out for a few hours every week, surrounded by so many lovely, welcoming, kind and funny women who all help and support each other.

Emma Farrington

Karen’s story

When I joined the choir, I’d never sung before (except in the bath) yet within a year I was standing in the very front row of 1,800 singers on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall!

Being part of a choir is a wonderful experience: it restores and rejuvenates me every week.

Karen Brereton

Christine’s story

After 38 years in DDLC I still learn something new every week. The atmosphere is always very friendly and the choir is going from strength to strength.
Christine Senior

Jill’s story

I joined DDLC four years ago after moving into the area. I received a really warm welcome from choir members and have made some very good friends.

During practices we develop techniques to improve our own singing as well as learning new songs and fine-tuning familiar ones. We work hard but we enjoy the fruits of our labours in our performances at concerts and in our successes at competitions.

We have a wide musical repertoire and perform to a variety of audiences. The highlight of my time in the choir (so far!) must be singing in the Festival of Brass and Voices at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2009 for Cancer Research UK. It was a real pleasure and privilege to have the opportunity to take part in such a big event.

Jill Wheeler

Terry’s story: one of our faithful fans tells all!

I have been a fan of Denby Dale Ladies Choir for six years now, and have always enjoyed their cheerful approach. I am proud that my wife is part of a choir that seems to inspire such a friendly rapport between all of the members. The arrival of Sarah Ogden as Musical Director has given the choir new confidence as well as a fabulous sound. Their concerts always bring great pleasure and I would encourage any music lover to go along and listen.
Terry Phillips

Another perspective: Jill’s husband has his say…

It’s Thursday night and I have the place to myself. My wife goes out to ‘The Choir’. I notice she never calls it ‘Practice’. It’s obviously a social occasion as well. Does anything good come from it? Well, being in the audience listening to their Spring Concert the other Saturday night, the answer is a definite “Yes!” It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with a smiling, prize-winning, ladies choir. Add to this an energetic conductor, an accomplished pianist (Michael, you deserve a medal with all those women), top quality soloists and you have everything you need for a good evening out. Let me recommend them to you!
John Wheeler