Guest blog by Ordnance Survey’s Pauline Hand
Ordnance Survey can proudly declare that it now has a workplace choir after over seventy members of staff flooded into the first rehearsal!
The possibility of starting a workplace choir had long been the topic of conversation over lunch among various members of the Corporate Communications team. And, as is often the case, a time came to stop talking about it and do something! So, by the most happy stroke of coincidence, just as the intranet message to all staff was being prepared, we discovered that BBC South, in support of Gareth Malone’s latest series on BBC Two, ‘Sing While You Work’ was seeking to support a high profile local organisation starting a workplace choir from scratch. Not only that, they were able to connect us with the University of Southampton Music Department who are keen for their music students to experience the reality of using their degrees in the real world of work. For us, this meant the provision of a choir leader – the crucial role we might have struggled to fill on our own.
The audience assembled that lunchtime, and incidentally the male female split was more or less fifty -fifty, heard Roger Hammett from the BBC explain their involvement, and how they would be featuring us from time to time on BBC Radio Solent’s Katie Martin Show, building up to a public performance from their studios at Christmas. Then it was over to the University of Southampton. Dan Mar-Molinero, Music Lecturer spoke of their excitement at being involved in the project and at last it was the moment to meet our new choir leader, Bella Brown, for the first time. Bella had brought along three of her fellow music students, Alex, Ashley and Peter and we were treated to a fabulous three part harmony of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ to whet our appetites!
Without further ado it was our turn to perform, initially warm up exercises, to the accompaniment of much laughter, followed by a whistle stop, twenty minute tutorial resulting in our being able to sing, if a little roughly, a three part harmony version of the Beach Boys ‘California Girls’. And, you know, it sounded pretty good for a first try but most importantly – we were hooked!
So now we are all eager to start our regular lunchtime practice sessions and repeat the fun we experienced at this inaugural gathering. Not too many meetings take place during the working day that result in ear to ear smiles and laughter to match but there is every indication that this is going to be a happy, productive and thoroughly inspiring journey for all taking part. All we have to do now is decide on a name for ourselves, the suggestions are rolling in so there could be an announcement quite soon! Watch this space as they say!