Hannah Brine says “I really love conducting choirs. The first choir I set up in London was Kensington Singers. They are a lovely group, meeting on Monday evenings, and we celebrated our 5th birthday in January 2016. We have performed across London including the Natural History Museum, for the Chelsea Pensioners and under the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree.”
What kind of choir is Kensington Singers?
We are a non-auditioned, community choir including people from all age groups and different levels of experience. We meet on Monday nights to rehearse in the hall of St Philip’s Church, Earls Court. Our members are aged from mid 20s to mid 70s and live/work in and around Kensington.
When was Kensington Singers founded?
Our first rehearsal was in January 2011. In that first term we had 25 members but we now have over 50 singers!
What inspired Hannah to start the choir?
Hannah Brine started the choir in 2011 whilst she was still living in Leicester. She was very keen to move to London and starting a choir was the perfect way to engage with people who also love to sing! She was made very welcome by the choir members, many of whom showed her around (and even helped her move house!) and in 2013 she settled here permanently.
What mix of voices do you have?
The women’s parts are split into soprano, the highest vocal range, and alto, for lower voices. For some of our more complicated pieces, these two groups are split into two again. The men’s section is split into basses and tenors, the tenors having the higher range.
Where have you performed?
For the Chelsea Pensioners, the Natural History Museum, the Chelsea Theatre, the Southbank Centre, Trafalgar Square, St Cuthbert’s Earls Court, St Philip’s Earls Court, St John’s Holland Park for the Sangestevne Festival , St Giles-in-the-Fields, London WC2. In December 2016 we were very lucky that 11 ladies from Kensington Singers performed at the Royal Variety show as part of the choir backing Gary Barlow.
What kind of music do you sing?
We sing everything! From classical to pop, folk, gospel to musical theatre and world. We are not afraid to tackle different languages, from French to Zulu, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin.
Is this Hannah’s first choir?
Hannah started her first choir in 2007 when she launched Fosse Singers in Leicester. In 2011 she started Kensington Singers in West London and travelled down weekly to run their rehearsals on Monday evenings. In 2013 she moved to London and has since delivered choral workshops and choirs for : Royal Brompton Hospital, Shoreditch House, UK Green Buildings Council, Selfridges, Jones Day Law Firm, Swing Patrol and Spark Youth Choir. Whilst living in Leicester she ran choral projects for Summer Sundae Weekender, De Montfort University and Parkinson’s UK. She currently conducts four weekly choirs; Kensington Singers, Victoria Park Singers, Engine staff choir for Music in Offices and the ITV staff choir and runs an annual singing retreat. She studied with the Association of British Choral Conductors and holds an LRSM distinction in choral conducting.She is also Estill voice trained.
Which charities have you raised money for?
We have raised money for charities including Nordoff Robin’s, Dementia UK, St John’s Nottinghill, Glass Door homeless charity, Save the Children, and Amnesty International.
Our choir aims to:
- Provide professional performance opportunities – Our summer concert was accompanied by a full band and our programme featured Soprano soloist Nina Bennet.
- Be a spring board for further musical learning – Some choir members have been on workshops at the Southbank centre and taken part in additional choir projects
- Generate local links – We regularly perform for the Chelsea Pensioners, acted as consultants to the Royal Brompton Hospitals Sing to Live project, and we regularly sing at St Cuthburts.
- Bring in professionals – Leotine Hass has given us a vocal technique workshop, Ken Burton gave a gospel workshop, and Richard Lianhart has given us a beatbox/vocal percussion workshop.
- Utilise and empower choir members’ other skills – eg video making, organisational skills, fundraising for concerts etc.
Benefits of singing in a choir:
• Proven health benefits of group singing, better posture, breathing, release of endorphins, team work, social benefits etc
• Improve musicianship / vocal skills.
• Learning new skills helps fight off depression.
• Networking – members sponsor each other for runs, attend concerts together, help share contacts, find instrumental tuition locally, attend each others non KS performances etc.
• Able to contribute to society