Mention babies and singing in the same breath and it usually means nursery rhymes and endless versions of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’.
But Brighouse mum, Sarah Wilkinson, is determined to expand the musical horizons of her own baby son, Miles, and to encourage other mums to introduce their tiny tots to the joys of music and singing.
Music teacher Sarah, of Cedar Grove, Bailiff Bridge, is starting a new choir for mums and babies and is hoping to inspire a love of singing across the generations.
Sarah, aged 28, is a keen member of Marsh Ladies’ choir but found she was unable to continue her choral singing regularly following the arrival of Miles eight months ago.
“I love being part of the choir but it got harder to fit it in after I had Miles,” she said.
“It made me think that there must be a lot of mums in my position who enjoy singing or would like to join a choir but have difficulty finding baby-sitters. The new choir will be for mums and babies and it will be fun and relaxed.”
The first session is on Tuesday, January 28 at Norwood Green Village Hall from 12.30pm to 1.30pm.
“No previous singing experience will be needed and it will not be necessary to take part in auditions or read music. The emphasis will be on singing for fun in a happy environment.”
Sarah met her husband Paul when they both worked at Leeds College of Music and the couple now give singing and piano lessons to more than 50 students - children and adults - each week at their home.
She also lectures part-time at Bradford College and gives workshops in music, drama and performing arts.
“Miles has listened to music since before he was born,” said Sarah. “When he was just few days old he had go to back into hospital and we were able to keep him calm by playing music that I’d been listening to before he was born!
“He loves the piano and listening to music. When the Prom concerts are on the TV, he is mesmerised.”
In the past Paul and Sarah have collaborated on writing a musical for children and Paul has composed jazz and classical music. In 1999 he was runner-up in the Perrier Jazz Musician of the Year awards.
“Both of us love music and are keen to share that with others. It is well-known that participating in music-making and singing has positive benefits.
“Singing is a very happy, relaxing thing to do and I think joining the choir will give mums a bit of ‘me time’.
“If they’ve had a bad night’s sleep or are feeling a bit stressed, I hope it will help them unwind for an hour.”
Though she is not a particular fan of the BBC TV programme ‘The Choir’, Sarah is a firm believer in choirmaster Gareth Malone’s ethos that singing is for everyone and that lack of singing experie- nce should be no bar to ‘having a go’.
“It is definitely about singing for fun, boosting confidence and meeting other mums,” said Sarah. “It’s not about singing on a stage or putting on a performance.”
Sarah has been thinking about some of the music the choir might perform. “We will doing some popular songs, musical theatre, tunes from ‘Mama Mia’, that sort of thing -it won’t be heavy or hard work! I will also welcome suggestions from the mums in the choir for suitable songs.
“I haven’t heard of another choir like it in the area so I hope it will catch on.
“It might be that eventually we give a little concert to raise money for children’s charities but that is not the main aim. Any mums will be welcome - even if their babies are all grown up!”
l For more information contact Sarah on 07917 331178 or email MusicalMummies@hotmail.co.uk