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Former P&O Ferries Choir, perform under new name Sound Waves in St Paul's RC Church for Christmas

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An award-winning choir is re-launching with a new name at a Christmas concert.

The Dover-based P&O Ferries Choir is now a charity and called Sound Waves.

The choir preparing for their new concert. Picture: Sound Waves choir
The choir preparing for their new concert. Picture: Sound Waves choir

The rebranded choir will give their first performance at St Paul's Catholic Church in Maison Dieu Road, Dover, on Sunday, December 19, from 7.30pm.

The programme will include old and modern Christmas songs, ranging from Torches to Walking In The Air from The Snowman, and Elton John's Step Into Christmas.

There will also be traditional carols, which the audience can join in.

The original group was formed in 2013 to take part in a nationwide search to find the best workplace choir.

Staff members were auditioned and recruited by choirmaster Gareth Malone for the televised competition, on the BBC programme The Choir: Sing While You Work. The Dover choir won that contest.

The choir logo. Picture: Sound Waves choir
The choir logo. Picture: Sound Waves choir

Since then they have sung at a number of prestigious events and venues both here and abroad, including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and released two albums.

Some of the original members are still there as is their musical director, Hilary Campbell, but the choir are now looking for new singers and sponsorship.

Julie Williamson was the first member seen on television being recruited.

She said: “Covid brought home to us the importance of singing for our physical and mental health,

“Of course we couldn't sing or practice together during the pandemic. We did some rehearsals on Zoom but it's not the same. "It was quite emotional when we all met together again for our first face-to-face rehearsal. We had missed it so much. The choir has become a big part of our lives."

The P&O Ferries Choir at Dover Town Hall in 2014. Picture: Tony Flashman
The P&O Ferries Choir at Dover Town Hall in 2014. Picture: Tony Flashman

P&O Ferries sponsored the choir in its first eight years.

That arrangement was never meant to be permanent and the end of it freed the group to recruit outside the company and become a community choir.

Ms Williamson said: “We are grateful to P&O for all the support they gave us, but we knew it couldn't continue forever, so we would also like to find someone, or an organisation, to become our sponsor.”

Sound Waves has about 17 members at present who rehearse twice a month. These sessions are recorded so individuals can practice at home as well.

Members pay a monthly subscription and new recruits would take on a couple of rehearsals before having an audition.

Doors for the St Paul's concert open at 7pm and tickets cost £8 or £15 for two.

They will be available on the door, or can be booked via ticketsource.co.uk/sound-waves-choir/t-nargvp

To sponsor Sound Waves, or become a new member, email soundwavesdover@gmail.com

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