gareth Malone has a lot to answer for

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With a little trepidation I went along to a singing session held in our community centre the other week.

I needn’t have worried. It was fun, it was relaxed and, amazingly, my voice stood up to the test.

The last time I got involved with any kind of organised singing was as a choir boy in my home town in the 1950s.

Once the voice broke, however, that was it, although I’ve always sung – more or less in tune – on a casual basis.

Singing groups have been popping up all over the place in recent years and a whole stash of people discovering the pleasures of harmonising with others and making a good sound.

Gareth Malone has a lot to answer for. And that’s one of the key factors, of course. A strong personality who not only knows his music but can instill confidence in others and bring them out of their shells.

Nothing typifies this more than what the Military Wives achieved during their time under his spell. Which leads me nicely on to Teresa Verney.

She runs the Fakenham get-togethers in tandem with similar community choir initiatives in Binham, Cromer, Gresham and Norwich.

Their success – and they are all successful in their slightly different ways – is entirely down to her. A combination of energy and empathy plus the musical nous to convince us doubters that we are more than capable of hitting the right notes than we suspect.

Teresa is the focus around which we circle – sometimes literally – and it’s really her dynamism that is our motivation.

She believes that many of us have been told at an early age that we can’t sing so that a kind of stigma stays with us, sometimes for ever. ‘

“The truth is, if you can talk you can sing. It takes me five minutes to show you this,” she says. One reason, perhaps why these choir congregations are called Sing for Joy.

I shall be continuing to enjoy the Monday afternoon sessions which run from 2pm to 3.30pm. It’s pretty much open house so if anyone out there would like to join us, just turn up at the door.

The big thaw came so rapidly that it took most of us by surprise. One day there was snow piled high all over the place and the next it was virtually gone.

Having ploughed my way down to the river in White Christmas conditions the melt then turned everything soggy with water, water everywhere. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Wensum quite so full.

The path looking down from the three brick arches bridge was flooded.

A section adjacent to the demolished bridge had me paddling half way up my wellies to get across. And the road bridge not far from town had water right up to its underside.

Maybe, just maybe, we can now get back to some sort of weather normality, whatever that is.