THOUSANDS of people are gathering across the country to sing terribly together in a new phenomenon — Tuneless Choirs.
Founders say the franchise is ‘spreading like a rash’ with 29 choirs nationwide and more set to open — filled with people who proudly sing badly.
Seven are due to launch in the next couple of months, all looking for members who ‘can’t carry a tune in a bucket’.
Founder Nadine Cooper describes herself as ‘the woman who put tuneless in Tuneless Choir’.
She started the first group in Nottingham in 2016 with choir master Bernie Bracha (West Bridgford pictured) after being told as a child by a music teacher that she should stop singing.
She said: ‘I stopped taking part in any musical activity after a teacher patted me on the back and told me I shouldn’t sing as I was ruining it for anyone else.
‘I didn’t even sing at weddings or funerals because I didn’t want to be disrespectful with my bad singing.
‘Years later I was speaking to Bernie Bracha who runs ‘proper’ choirs who told me I should join anyway.
‘I told her I really couldn’t, but that there should be choirs for awful singers like me. That’s when we held the first meeting for tuneless singers in a local church. We advertised in the local paper and 60 people turned up on the night.”
‘We call it tuneless rather than tone-deaf as that is specific to hearing and we welcome anyone that can’t sing in tune for any reason.’
The group says they do not expect anyone to pay to listen to their singing at concerts but they do raise money for charity when performing.
Nadine said: ‘Last year we raised £7,000 for the Mind charity. Over the last ten years it’s been reported more, with people like Gareth Malone, that singing makes you happy.
‘Our tag line is “sing like no one’s listening”.’
Choir members are aged from 15 to 92 and Nadine believes the appeal is the community and fun offered.
She said: ‘It’s completely about friendship, I didn’t foresee how much community would be around it.
‘We have thousands of people attending, with one group getting up to 150 people a session.
‘We don’t learn songs like a normal choir would — in a session we get through about 12-14 songs, singing along with backing tracks like mass karaoke.’
Nadine, who previously worked as a Boots manager, took on the choirs as a full-time job a few weeks after starting it and said she feels it is her ‘life’s purpose’.
‘Soon after I started the first one there was obvious demand with people asking if they could start their own one so I did predict that it would get more popular.
‘We now have interest internationally from America and we have a convention with all the choirs in February which will be held in Nottingham.’
Newcomers are not required to audition and pay £10 for their first session. The regular ‘pay as you go’ price is £7 or £5 if commiting for a term.
Nadine insisted: ‘We’ve never had anyone who was too bad at singing for our choirs.’