How it Began

The choir started in 1992 as a Newbury College adult education class under the leadership of Ian Westley. It was originally a mixed voice choir.

The membership grew and the choir moved to a new, larger venue. After ten years, the last of the men left and it was decided to make this an upper voice choir. We now still sing in four parts, two soprano and two alto.

In 2007, the class fees rose prohibitively and we became semi-independent but still under the umbrella of Newbury College.

After a year, we discovered Making Music, an organisation which supports voluntary music groups. Once we joined them, we left Newbury College, who were still asking very high fees, and became fully independent. We could now set our own fees and deal with all matters internally, through an elected committee. A similar situation occurred with another choir at Caversham Adult Education Centre and they joined us, almost doubling our numbers. We changed the choir’s name to Vivace Voices and at the same time we had to change our venue and moved to St Catherine of Sienna Church in Tilehurst.

We have continued to grow and now do three concerts a year during which we raise money for a variety of charities. In 2019, before the world went Covid crazy, we raised £2792 for charity.

We have also visited care homes, sung for charity every Christmas at Sainsbury’s, Calcot, and support the Duchess of Kent hospice at their Christmas fund raising evening.

Ian is still in charge – although he may sometimes dispute that – and under his leadership we have become a more polished choir. We also have a small chamber group who rehearse for short sessions after the main rehearsal and who work on more challenging material.

We sing an eclectic range of songs ranging from folk tunes, sacred music, jazz standards, world music, classical pieces to songs from the shows, but most of all we have fun. Wednesday afternoons would be very flat without our weekly trip to Vivace Voices.