I can’t quite believe that our wonderful choir came into being 10 years ago! It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I opened the doors to Dorchester Arts back in 2006 wondering if I’d be greeted by a throng of enthusiastic singers or just a view of the car park! Luckily folk did arrive to sing and the seeds were sown for a wonderful community of singers which, over the years, has gone from strength to strength.
The really special thing about VIVA, apart from the great sound of course, is the commitment, enthusiasm and community spirit shown by our singers. Some have recently joined and others have been coming to choir for many years. We originally started out as a mixed choir and performed regularly at local events including the Dorchester Festival, Apple Day and Christmas celebrations at Kingston Maurward and of course the opening of the Olympic Games in Weymouth. VIVA also premiered the specially commissioned song for Dorchester, Dancing the Rings at Maumbury in Borough Gardens and featured on the soundtrack of Out in the Open a film about homelessness premiered at the Dorchester Plaza. More recently in 2014 we performed in Heartwood , an original site specific piece with original music by Karen Wimhurst. This was a collaboration between sound artist Adrian Newton who directed the piece Karen and myself. VIVA joined forces with Pallida, Karen’s Shaftesbury choir, Skylarks Children’s Choir and my Heart and Soul Community Choir from Poundbury.
Winning Best Large choir of the 2014 and 2015 Weymouth Festivals in collaboration with Heart and Soul, was a highlight for the choir. Our Christmas concerts at St Georges church in Fordington have also been a great success and hugely enjoyable and these concerts have enabled VIVA, in collaboration with my other choirs ,to raise hundreds of pounds for charities – the West Dorset Women’s Refuge, Autism Wessex, The Red Cross and the Dorset Blind Association to name but a few.
So…here we are 10 years on planning our new CD, a trip to the Southbank to sing at the Chorus Festival and a choir exchange to France! I can’t wait! Viva la VIVA!