• Joe

Singing in the rustic setting of The Packhorse

Pubs and choirs go together so well, it's a wonder the idea of pub choirs hasn't taken off in a big way before.

If there's a choice between singing in a plain and draughty old hall somewhere, or in a cosy pub with beers and ciders on tap to moisten the vocal chords, perhaps it's a case of 'no contest'.

Matt Finch runs a weekly pub choir that alternates between the Packhorse at Southstoke and the King William at Combe Down, starting at 7pm at both venues.

He says: "This choir has no membership, no commitment, no concerts – in fact all the things you normally get with a choir, you don't get here – but that's a positive. Just turn up is about as much preparation as you need."

Matt also organises other choirs that meet at different pubs and he says that because of the informal way these are set up, you never really know who's going to come along.

His choirs typically sing popular songs from the last 60 or 70 years; recently songs by the Monkeys and the Beatles have been practised. Another time Matt got people singing a track from the musical The Greatest Showman. The sessions cost participants £5 a time and you don't have to be good at singing to take part.

On a sunny day in April, Matt brought together all his pub choirs to rehearse a piece of music in the open air at Southgate Street for an hour. Called "A Sixty Minute Choir" the purpose was to raise money for charity. People had to go online and donate some money to get the music and lyrics – and in the end some £1,600 was raised for Cancer Research.

To find out more about the pub choirs, visit the website: www.mypubchoir.com where you will be able to browse the calendar of upcoming events.

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