From listener to composer

Composer Laura Snowden offers a brief insight into classroom memories and how the music still moves her as an adult, working alongside the Chandos Chamber Choir on the Adopt a Composer project.

I grew up singing in my school community choir, rehearsing on a Wednesday evening at Sackville Community College under the expert lead of Mr Holgate. I loved having a community to hold onto in the midst of the confusing world of adolescence, being united by a common goal and, of course, exchanging sideways glances with Beth and Astrid whenever a vaguely naughty word cropped up in the text.

As a listener, I find myself deeply moved by certain pieces of choral music; perhaps it is something about the physicality of it all, the fact that the singer must engage his or her whole body to sing, inviting us to listen too with our whole bodies. 

All this is to say that when my Making Music partnership was announced, and the enthusiastic hands of two Chandos Chamber Choir members waved vigorously at me from across the room, I felt a rush of excitement.

At our first meeting, my mentor Jenni Pinnock and I were met with a warm, positive atmosphere led by the energising James Davey, as we joined in with a rehearsal. I handed out a questionnaire and chatted to people about their responses and ideas, which have since continued via the choir’s WhatsApp group. At the end, I was treated to Jan Sandström’s Det är en ros utsprungen; the hushed hums and magical harmonies sent chills through me as I sat on the floor and soaked it up.

Since the first rehearsal, I have been receiving the choir’s latest thoughts via their WhatsApp group, which has been totally invigorating. I love the idea that we are creating something together, something that is totally unique to this particular group of people.

This is a project we begin with no idea of how it will end; and this is precisely what makes it so thrilling.


Follow Adopt a Composer groups and composers on social media:

Laura Snowden Facebook / Twitter

Chandos Chamber Choir  Facebook / Twitter

The Adopt a Composer project matches vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups with some of the UK’s most promising composers to collaborate on creating a new piece of music. The project leads to a première performance and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. If you’re a music group or composer and you’d like to take part, find out more.