A Little History
Our founding choir leader, Helen Hayes, originally trained as a primary school teacher and taught in Nottingham, Derby and Leicestershire. 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 and eventually went on to train as a church minister.
Groby Sings started in 2013 when Rev. Helen Hayes launched the project whilst a curate working in the area. It was expected to be a small community choir. “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 the first season we sang a selection of songs from Oliver and Les Miserables at Groby Community College, with a second concert date added due to the demand for tickets. To our great delight and through a lot of hard work from volunteers, it was agreed that Groby Sings could continue.
In 2021, Simon Lubkowski was appointed as Musical Director. Simon is an experienced and energetic Choir Director who lives in Wigston with his wife Kathryn and four children Ellena, Samuel, Isabelle and Charlotte.
He moved into Choral Directing and teaching singing full time in 2021, after an 18 year career as a Head of Music at various Leicestershire Schools and was thrilled to be able to become the MD of Groby Sings as part of this career change. He is also the Music Director of The Ratcliffe Chorale in Syston, the founder and MD of “The Pantones” an LGBT+ friendly choir in Leicester, the founder and MD of The Knighton Community Choir in Clarendon Park, and the founder and MD of Mixed A Cappella group “Lux A Cappella”. He also works as a Singing and Voice Leader for Leicestershire Music Hub, teaches private singing lessons, and even finds time to be a qualified Singing Judge for the “British Association Of Barbershop Singers”, as well as being a National Barbershop Quartet Champion with his Quartet “The Locksmiths”.
Simon likes to compose and arrange music in his “free” time and many of his Choirs sing these pieces in rehearsals and concerts!
Each season the songs are chosen on a theme. This is often based on a musical to which further songs are then added from a wide variety of eras and styles; sometimes the link to the theme is tenuous but they reflect the age range of our choir (from 7 to over 90 years old) and their differing musical experience. The music is arranged by Paul Cox, our concert pianist, and Simon Lubkowski, our musical director, for up to four parts although most of the songs are sung in unison and there is always a melody line for those who prefer to stick to something familiar. The choir has also premiered some of Paul’s choral compositions.
Singers are invited to perform but it is not obligatory; they are welcome to come along and enjoy Wednesday rehearsals without singing at the concerts. Costumes are encouraged although singers may dress in casual clothes in the suggested colour scheme for the theme. Pre-Covid concerts were usually sell outs to audiences of over 300 of our family, friends, neighbours and local residents. Some had been to every one! More recent seasons have included a 'singing at home' grand finale and singing to smaller gatherings. We hope to welcome more singers along and encourage bigger audiences at our new, more comfortable venue.
2013: Groby Sings Oliver and Les Mis
& Groby Sings Christmas
2014: Groby Sings Oklahoma and Grease
& Groby Sings On Ice – including songs from Frozen
2015: Groby Sings Goes West – songs from West Side Story and other American hits.
& Groby Sings Goes to Town –including songs from My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins.
2016 Groby Sings ABBA and The Beatles
& Groby Sings goes Technicolour - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and other colour-themed songs.
2017 Groby Sings Rock and Royal – songs from The King and I, Elvis, and Queen
& Groby Sings Hits the Heights revisited some of our hits from previous seasons as well as songs from The Sound of Music.
2018 Groby Sings Steps Through Time was 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 the chart toppers of recent times.
& Groby Sings From the Rooftops – songs from Fiddler on the Roof and other rooftop favourites.
2019 Groby Sings On the Beach - songs from South Pacific, The Beach Boys and other seaside hits.
& Groby Sings Under the Stars – songs from The Greatest Showman and a wide variety of stellar hits.
2020 Groby Sings On the Road - a selection of songs from Calamity Jane and other travelling favourites began rehearsals but was suspended due to the pandemic.
& Carry On Groby Sings - a special sing at home weekend was co-ordinated by the Management Team featuring the songs from previous seasons chosen by a poll of all singers.
2022 We started taking Groby Sings into the future under the musical direction of Simon Lubkowski starting with Groby Sings On the Road Again - a selection of travelling favourites including three by Simon and Garfunkel.
& Groby Sings Through the Seasons - a variety of favourite songs taking the choir from tulip time to winter snows.
2023 Groby Sings At the Movies - songs from our favourite movies including Disney hits, Hollywood greats and more.
& Groby Sings At the Opera - songs from The Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis as well as a few surprises including Nessun Dorma sung in Italian.
2024 Groby Sings European Tour - songs from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and hits from around Europe.
Groby Sings became a registered charity in November 2018. Registered Charity number 1180490. More details can be found on the Charity Commission website.