Emotions high as Harrogate choir ends

What must it be like to say ‘cheerio’ to the thing you have created and loved with great success for the last ten years?

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 9:39 am
End of an era - Harrogate's popular Rock Up and Sing! on stage with director Rhiannon Gayle.

The founder of one of Harrogate’s biggest and most ambiitous choirs is about to find out.After a decade which has seen Rock Up and Sing! expand to five different ensembles, performing with the likes of Brian Blessed and Lesley Garrett while raising more than £36,000 for a variety of charities and good causes, Rhiannon Gayle is bowing out.

Despite also creating friendships and, even, new relationships along the way, when Rock Up and Sing! perform two major concerts at the huge Harrogate Convention Centre next month, that will be it for the incredibly dedicated Rhiannon.With two teenagers rapidly heading towards major exams and university, former professional soprano Rhiannon has been faced with a very difficult decision to make.

Harrogate's inspirational Rock Up and Sing! director Rhiannon Gayle.

Rock Up and Sing! Why it is endingHaving founded the mass rock and pop choir in 2009 and leading it ever since as its director, Rhiannon has opted to put family ahead of music.She said: “It has been a very difficult decision to make. Running the choirs has been so rewarding in many ways, but also incredibly time consuming, especially as the major concerts come around.“My family have been really supportive as I’ve given my time to extra rehearsals and planning, and now I feel it’s the right time to focus on them, as my children get ready for GCSEs and A levels, and prepare to move on to the next stages of their lives.”

As well as the choirs’ many acclaimed performances from Harrogate to New York, the 400 members of Rock Up and Sing! have raised funds for the likes of the National Autistic Society and Leeds-based St Gemma’s Hospice.

While proud of all the choirs’ singers and their achievements, Rhiannon said some of her fondest moments weren’t musical at all.

Rock Up and Sing! The personal stories

She said: “The things that stand out in my mind are when a choir member has taken something personal from their involvement. “We’ve had plenty of people coming to join us who were going through stresses at home, including health worries, bereavements and relationship difficulties, as well as people who loved music but were really lacking in confidence.“I will miss the choirs enormously, but I hope the experiences we’ve had together will inspire the members to keep music in their lives from now on.”

Rock Up and Sing! Helping charity with final concert

Rock Up and Sing! will mark the end of its ten years of success with two spectacular performances at Harrogate Convention Centre on Saturday, June 8. They will raise money for Jessie’s Fund a charity which uses music to help children with complex needs and serious illnesses.Rock Up and Sing! director Rhiannon Gayle said: “Jessie’s Fund is a wonderful charity and its use of music to improve lives is inspirational. We want to raise as much money as we can for it.”