A community choir that has been helping people find their voices for over a decade are inviting new members to join them as they continue their rehearsals online in lockdown.

Pocklington Arts Centre’s Forgotten Voices Community Choir formed 10 years ago with the aim of helping people rediscover the joys of singing in a friendly, sociable setting under the directorship of Sam Dunkley.

The group usually meet at the arts centre from 7-9pm every Tuesday evening to rehearse songs from a wide range of genres including pop, folk, classical, and musical theatre.

But the pandemic has forced them to move their rehearsals online.

And while members say they miss their face-to-face sessions, their online rehearsals are proving to be morale boosters - and are helping to combat social isolation. Retired teacher Jane Smith, from Pocklington, joined Forgotten Voices at the very start, spurred on by there being no audition and wanting to find a way to ‘switch off for a couple of hours’.

Despite missing performing in person and socialising with everyone, Jane says the online rehearsals have been great for her mental wellbeing.

Jane said: “Over the years I have made good friends through the choir. I have learnt a lot from Sam and he always manages to make us laugh. I love it when we’ve worked on a song, and then all the parts come together.

“It is so uplifting to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I love it when we can perform for and with other people, whether it’s at a summer fair, a wedding, or on stage at the Arts Centre.

“I miss being able to hear everybody else’s voices, being in the same room, with all the parts resounding around us. I miss being able to socialise, have a chat and a cup of tea.

“On the other hand, it’s been very good for morale, to see friends virtually every week, have a little chat and a laugh, as well as singing some old favourites and learning some new songs.”

Retired teacher Pamela Quarmby, of Stamford Bridge, agreed. She said she, too, misses seeing the friends she has made, and hearing each other sing. But she would encourage others to join in the online rehearsals. “Come and join us - we are like a family!” she said.

PAC’s Forgotten Voices Community Choir meet online every Tuesday from 7pm-8pm. No audition necessary.

To find out more and join in one of their rehearsals contact Sam Dunkley at info@performingartsetc.co.uk or send a message via the choir’s Facebook page @ForgottenVoicesCommunityChoir