Groby Sings started out in 2013 when, then local curate, Helen Hayes launched the project. A small community choir production or so she thought! “The response for Groby Sings has been completely amazing,” said Helen. “I had thought that I would be lucky to get 40 people involved and after only 3 rehearsals we already have over 210 people singing.” For that first concert we sang a selection of songs from Oliver and Les Miserables at Groby Community College, with extra concert date added due to successful ticket sales. To our great delight and through a lot of hard work from volunteers in the community, it was agreed that Groby Sings could continue and our next concert was announced to be Groby Sings Christmas!
2014 brought much fun; the summer concert being songs from Oklahoma and Grease, which added much more scope for fancy dress and set design and the winter concert being songs on the theme of Groby Sings on Ice. In 2015 audiences were treated to Groby Sings goes West featuring West Side Story and other American hits. This was followed by Groby Sings goes to Town including songs from My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins.
Summer 2016 Groby Sings ABBA and The Beatles was the 7th successful season which was once again a double sell out with the biggest choir yet of over 250 singers. Winter 2016 was our 8th season Groby Sings goes Technicolour featuring Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and other popular colour-themed songs.
In 2017 our summer performances were entitled Groby Sings Rock and Royal. This included songs from The King and I, Elvis, Queen and once again a specially written number by our in-house composer, Paul Cox. For the tenth season, Groby Sings Hits the Heights revisited some of our hits from previous seasons as well as songs from The Sound of Music. Groby Sings Steps Through Time was the a break from the normal format with no featured show or composers. The songs ranged through styles and genres from a 12th century madrigal to hits of recent artists.
The twelfth season, Groby Sings From the Rooftops, was a return to show songs; Fiddler on the Roof provided the first half followed by a selection of rooftop hits to finish the concerts. Groby Sings On the Beach was once again partly show music and partly popular hits; South Pacific and The Beach Boys providing the inspiration added to by other seaside favourites.
September 2019 sees the start of rehearsals for Groby Sings Under the Stars. This fourteenth season will include some songs from The Greatest Showman and a wide variety of stellar hits; tenuous links to the theme will abound!
Our choir leader Helen Hayes trained as a primary school teacher at Nottingham Trent University and taught in Nottingham, Derby and Leicestershire until 2002. She began conducting children’s choirs and this led to her working for Music for Everyone as their principal conductor for Vocals, a children’s choir of more than 200. Helen left teaching to become a full-time freelance animateur in 2002. An animateur has been described as someone who helps audiences to appreciate musicians and music in new ways and helps them to enjoy music that they may not be familiar with. They also help the musicians as they develop techniques for reaching out to their communities and encourage as many people as possible to engage with music and music related activities.
Helen has been involved in a variety of exciting projects working with London Symphony Orchestra, on a project with excluded pupils in Nottingham, music workshops at Foston Hall Women’s Prison, drugs awareness projects in secondary schools, an action research project with early years in Leicestershire and taking a schools music workshop in China.
Helen is a member of the international competition choir Choros Amici, winners of Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year 2000. She has performed in the Royal Albert Hall London, Hyde Park with Pavarotti, Songs of Praise and taken part in many international choir competitions in Ireland, France, Spain and Finland enjoying much success. She is also part of a Christian singing group 8ctave, described as a “unique vocal ensemble of priests in the Diocese of Leicester.” Helen was ordained as a priest in 2011 in Leicester Cathedral. She has also launched The Sound Cafe, a project for the homeless in Leicester, links to these projects and the churches in the community of Groby can be found below.
Groby Sings became a registered charity in November 2018. Registered Charity number 1180490. More details can be found on the Charity Commission website.