Double trouble!


Excitingly, this term the Hassocks and Brighton choirs come together to perform not one, but TWO gigs in one day at the stunning Old Market in Hove on Saturday 15 July.

As this venue always sells out for SOTC gigs, we thought we’d give our fans a real treat this time by performing a matinee at 5:30pm, and an evening performance at 8:00pm! So bring one, bring all, and don’t forget to get your tickets at rehearsals! Tickets are also due to be available to purchase on the interweb, so watch this space….

The only bummer is that even though there are two shows, we are only having one after show party. Guess we’ll just have to really go for it when we hit the pub at the end of what is set to be an epic day!


Sing up loud, sing up clear…


….But not too loud.

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that can certainly be true with a choir. A key aspect of choir singing is that the sound produced is the result of lots of voices singing together…Blending in a choir is key to getting a unified sound. It’s super that individuals can sing confidently, but if certain voices are sticking out, it’s not a choir anymore – it’s just a group of soloists!

Plus, variations in volume through the course of a song help bring light and shade to the piece, and achieve those lovely ‘swells’ that get Vanessa really excited! So next time you’re in rehearsal, listen to what’s going on around you. If you are quieter that those standing next to you, sing up!  And if you’re warbling away like Mariah Carey and your choir buddies are sticking their fingers in their ears to save their eardrums, maybe best reign it in a bit!


Will we ‘Finnish’ it in time for the Roundhouse?!


So this July, SOTC are off to the Roundhouse in Camden to take part in a huge festival called ‘Voices Now’.

We are really going to be stretching ourselves with the repertoire for this gig, as we are singing some material that is waaaay out of our comfort zone.

One of the songs that we are going to be singing is a Finnish choral piece, written by composer, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi – who describes himself as an ‘eclectic traditionalist’: eclectic in that he adopts influences from a number of styles and periods, fusing them into his own idiom; traditionalist in that his musical language is based on a traditional approach and uses the resources of modern music only sparingly.

The piece we are singing is called ‘Pseudo-yoik’ – and according to the composer, the words are meaningless and exist only to give form to the music. This is quite a relief, as it means it’s probably not the end of the world if our Finnish is a bit rusty – and the piece is apparently a ‘humorous look at the stereotype of the Lapland folk music’. So there we go!

Sing with your mouths, listen with your ears….


So Vanessa is always banging on at us that one of the most important skills in choir is keeping our ears open, as listening (even to other people’s parts) helps us to understand how the arrangement comes together, and – crucially – prevents us all from chatting away during rehearsals!

But did you know that you might be a better listener (and learner) if you studied a musical instrument at school? Studies have shown that musical training (but not necessarily just passive listening to music) affects attention and memory. It’s suggested that the reason for this is that the motor and listening skills needed to play an instrument in concert with other people appears to heavily involve attention, memory and the ability to inhibit actions. Merely listening passively to music by, say, Toto, does not produce the same changes in attention and memory. So if you were a whiz on the recorder at school, there really is no excuse for not already having memorized this term’s parts!


“We built this city on sausage rolls” (and other misheard lyrics!)


So this week at choir, Vanessa encouraged us to get on with learning the words to our songs, and put down our lyric and music sheets as quickly as possible. There’s no cheating at the gig, after all!

But some choir members get a shock when the lyric sheets go around, and they discover that the words to a song aren’t quite what they thought they were….

This week some of the Brighton choir were surprised to learn that Toto were singing “I bless the rains down in Africa”, rather than “I bet it rains down in Africa”; “I left my brains down in Africa”, or even better, “I bet Lorraine’s down in Africa”! Who’s Lorraine? And why has she gone to Africa?!

If you’ve got any misheard lyrics stories, we’d love you to share them!



Guess who’s back? Choir’s back!


Well it certainly felt good to get the old vocal chords moving again this week, after a short break over Easter. And what an exciting term we’ve got to look forward to!

The summer term will see us getting ready to take part in the Voices Now festival at the Roundhouse in July – a celebration of all things choir.

The Roundhouse is an iconic venue, and we absolutely can’t want to follow in the footsteps of some of the acts that have performed there – the Doors performed their only UK show there in 1968, and Oasis and The Stranglers have both recorded live albums there. Who would have thought that the venue would rise to such legendary status from its humble beginnings as a railway turntable and a warehouse!

If you aren’t already a choir member and want to get involved, come along to one of our FREE taster sessions! Details in the ‘Join In’ section of the site!




What a weekend!


So last weekend saw the majestic SOTC Choir take one two towns and two venues over two crazy days!

The Hassocks choir were resplendent on Saturday night, teaching the audience to sing ‘Lean on Me’ and raising an incredible £443.48 for St Catherine’s Hospice.

The Brighton choir did their thing on Sunday at  The Old Market, and wowed the audience to the point that a two song encore was demanded!

It was so much fun, we can’t wait to do it all again…. Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to get your name down for next term!

How to nail it on gig day


With both of Soul of the City’s Spring Gigs approaching this weekend, we ask ourselves – how do you get the most out of a performance?

  • If you suffer from stage fright, focus solely on getting through that very first line. Once that’s out of the way, everything tends to fall into place, so giving yourself something specific to do before singing your first note can work wonders!
  • Enjoy the feeling of being on stage, look around you in rehearsals to get used to the size of the performance space and think how much energy you will need to fill that space.
  • As Johnny once (almost) said to Baby in Dirty Dancing – The words aren’t enough…….FEEL the music!
  • Vibe off the audience – just take the time to appreciate how much they are enjoying hearing you sing!
  • Lap up the moment – this is what all your hard work has been for, so bask in the glory!

Who sings with us? And why?!


This week, meet Russ, who as well as singing with our Brighton choir, is performing as a support act at our end of term gig next week!

I joined Soul of the City Brighton at the beginning of 2017.  I knew I loved singing but I didn’t have the confidence or outlet to go it alone. A friend suggested I try joining a choir, and after some Googling I found Soul of the City.

 It was terrifying turning up for the first time and trying something completely unfamiliar! I was made to feel really welcome by everyone, especially the other guys in the tenor and bass sections. There is a genuine sense of camaraderie, and I really felt this when we went to the Roundhouse for the gathering day for the Voices Now festival that is happening in July.

 I have met people I probably wouldn’t otherwise have encountered, and have now got an activity and interest that is completely unconnected to my work, which is refreshing! I’ve been really enjoying this term and have been in awe of how the harmonies and arrangements are constructed and composed- it can be challenging sometimes to get the parts right, but it sounds amazing when it all comes together.

 I would encourage anybody who loves singing, or just wants to get out and meet new people to give it a go. 

Hassocks Choir supports local hospice


This term, the wonderful Hassocks Choir has chosen to support a local hospice, with the proceeds from their spring gig going to St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley.

St Catherine’s was established in 1983 and provides expert end of life care in Sussex and East Surrey, helping more than 2,000 terminally ill people, their family members, friends, and carers each year. They also provide emotional, spiritual and welfare support to anyone affected by death and bereavement.

SOTC Hassocks is proud to help ensure that people receive the best support when life comes full circle. To find our more about St Catherine’s please visit

And you can snap up the last few remaining tickets to the Hassocks choir’s gig on 8 April here – but be quick!