Tutors: Cat Fothergill & Henry Sears
Cat Fothergill has been leading singing groups and choirs in West Wales since 2014, as well as a highly successful group holiday in Morocco early in 2020.
St Dogmaels Singing Village and Can Sing in Narberth are both groups which have grown and grown in popularity since she started working with them; in fact both groups got too big for the halls they were in. Cat is also invited to lead other groups in Aberystwyth and the Gower regularly and led singing in care homes and day centres every week. Obviously 2020 brought huge changes to singing , and groups moved online or outdoors where possible.
She chooses uplifting , moving songs from all over the world (with only a slight bias towards African and gospel songs!)
She has a talent for bringing a group together in harmony and helping people to feel connected and joyful.
One of the highlights of her singing career has been the singing holiday in Morocco. The elements of sunshine, excitement, group cohesion and relaxation in the beautiful new Eco Lodge, makes for a magical combination which somehow makes the harmonies even sweeter than usual.
Cat and Henry are a complimentary teaching team; Henry excels with his musicality and harmonies and Cat is always encouraging more blending and good vibes within the group. Together they teach with a warm and humorous touch and help the group to reach new heights of singing pleasure!
“Thoroughly enjoyed singing with Cat leading and joining in the good humour with a laugh. She is an excellent Natural Voice Practitioner, drawing us all in and building our confidence with an encouraging expression of pleasure and gentle repetition until we picked up more complicated phrases of our various parts.” Sylvia G May 2022
‘Singing with Cat is the highlight of my week’ – Singing Village singer
In 2008 Henry founded his first community choir in Newport, Pembrokeshire in West Wales. Since then he has been in increasing demand as a resident and visiting community choir leader working regularly with at least 5 choirs, one of which, Singing Village, he co-leads with Cat, as well as presenting one-off workshops and working with other local choir leaders on collaborative massed choir projects such as ‘Côr Pawb’ and ‘Raise Your Voice Pembrokeshire’. He is well known for quietly and calmly drawing out a confident performance from participants, and for the wonderfully inspiring songs he has collected from all around the world, as well as his own arrangements of popular and folk songs.
Henry gained a degree in music as a mature student, but grew up steeped in the aural traditions of British and Irish indigenous musical cultures, where learning by ear is the norm. So, although a schooled musician with a thorough understanding of music theory, he comfortably embraces the ethos of the Natural Voice community: that singing is for everyone, regardless of prior experience or the ability to read music, and that all voices have a contribution to make in our collective expression through voice and song that is so intrinsic to human cultures everywhere.
As one 83 year old member said of her experience of singing in Newport Community Choir – “I feel like a caged bird set free!”