In 2005 Val Machell was approached to be the tutor of a West Notts
Local Education Authority evening class for singing with an educational remit
to be run at the Ellis Guilford School on Thursday evenings in term time. Val
accepted the appointment and her husband, Dave, voluntarily attended each week
as her accompanist.
After two or three terms Val was frustrated by the restrictive and
prescriptive nature of the evening class scenario and decided that she would
like to have her own independent choir.
To this end she asked the then members of the night class if:
a) they would be willing
to join such a choir, led by herself with Dave in a key supporting role sharing
the musical directorship, instead
of attending the night class and;
b) since she didn’t want
to deal with the organisation herself, if any members would volunteer to
‘manage’ a potential newly formed choir.
The general consensus was yes and five members stepped forward. These five formed the Committee and came from
a background of having sung with a variety of other groups and from serving on
It was agreed that the ethos of the choir was to be ‘singing for health
and wellbeing’ and suggestions to name the new choir were voted upon and a bank
account was opened in the name of ‘Soundswell Choir’. Then a Constitution was prepared with the
assistance of ‘Making Music’ (the National Federation of Music Societies)
organisation who, having approved the Constitution, enabled the Choir to become
Members of Making Music which allowed the Committee access to help relating to
many aspects of setting up and promoting a choir. It also offered preferential rates for
insurance – public liability, employment liability and property cover.
Ellis Guilford school were willing to let the premises to Soundswell
Choir, as a totally independent and self-funding group, on the same basis as to
the Local Education Authority and the Choir enjoyed its inaugural evening on
Thursday June 6th 2006 with a membership of 35.
Since then the Choir has moved twice, as a result of venue demolition
on both occasions, firstly to Basford Hall College and then to Bluecoat Academy
where it still meets on the same basis upon which it was founded but on Tuesday
nights in term time with a membership of 100-110.
Long may it continue!