ELEANOR RASTALL, Choir Leader
I’m a Yorkshire lass, born and raised in Leeds where I had my first choir leading experience at school, aged eighteen. After studying Human Sciences I moved to London to be a singer, teacher and choir leader, and I love it! Working with choirs has become a really important part of my work and it brings me great joy and excitement.
As a choir leader, I aim to create a friendly and supportive atmosphere that facilitates confidence, freedom and enjoyment. I encourage better vocal and physical health by working on good posture and breath flow. I also focus on the release of physical tension, and helping anyone who wants to sing to do so!
I currently run two office choirs in central London and am a regular deputy for several community choirs around London. I have also led one-off choral, workshop and performance sessions with The Guardian, NHS England, Leeds Voice Day and Channel 4 among others. Performance highlights last year included leading a choir performance at the British Museum, in Kings Place and in front of the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square.
I’m privileged to work regularly at Shakespeare's Globe as Assistant Musical Director and Guest Workshop Leader on a variety of community projects, conferences and summer schools.
I’m also a professional singer and singing teacher. I sing pretty much anything but my favourite styles are baroque opera, folk song and legit musical theatre. I particularly enjoy performing as part of a project or event, where music is part of a wider context. I love the variety offered by the different strands of my career.
The piece I sing most often is a half learnt-by-ear, half-improvised version of the folk song Black is the Colour of My True Love's Hair that I created for a performance 18 months ago with London City Chorus. I often sing it as part of my warm-up, or when I just want to enjoy singing and find a good flow.
"For me, the most important thing is that everyone leaves feeling better than when they arrived."
"I love the enjoyment that people get out of singing in a group, the huge energy that can be generated by the right song and arrangement."
LAURA STEVENS, Marketing and Membership
I love singing in choirs. Having failed to master three different instruments at school, I turned my attention to choirs and I’ve been hooked ever since. I get a real kick out of singing with others, feeling the power of a group of people working to build a beautiful sound.
I’m usually found in the Alto section, which I love, as the middle part is often the most challenging in terms of harmony. Singing is a great stress release and it has a real calming influence on me. I love singing folk and swing, but I’m also a sucker for a show tune.
When I’m not choiring (I’m not sure if that’s a word, but it is now) I work as a television executive. I’m also a writer, dabbling in fringe theatre for the last ten years or so.
I help with all the choir’s membership and marketing activities, snapping pictures and the occasional video of all the different things we get up to (apart from when we’re in the pub!).