THE uplifting sounds of a gospel choir could soon be helping to build a new sense of community in Worksop.
Richard and Norma Hylton-Mais got the idea for the choir after the success of their own annual musical get-together.
Every summer they open their home and garden on Windsor Road, Carlton, for Nyamm and Jamm, a Jamaican-themed party based around singing and sharing food.
It’s become so popular that people travel from all over the country to join in and there are several videos of it on Youtube.
“We’re lucky because we have a big garden so we can put up several gazebos,” said Norma, who grew up singing in church and community choirs in Sheffield.
“One year we had some people come round from a few streets away. They said they had heard the singing and enjoyed it so much they followed the sound of the music to our house.”
Richard, 35, who sings tenor, said gospel music had brought them so much joy, they wanted to share it with other people.
He said: “I enjoy singing gospel music, it’s all about being happy and being lifted and taken out of the place where you are, not in the after life, but in this life.”
“It’s been an inspiration to me and I want to share that.”
The couple, who have a two-year-old son called Mikah, said the choir would also help to build a sense of community again.
Richard said: “We are so busy in this life, paying the bills and trying to get by, that it’s so easy not to be aware of what other people are going through.”
“We have to make time for each other. Everybody has their own story. We used to have strong communities, like the miners, but that’s starting to disappear and we want to try to get that back.”
“It’s about bringing people together for something good.”
Richard and Norma belong to the Apostolic Church of the Fellowship, which meets every Sunday at the Bassetlaw Community Voluntary Service centre next to the Priory.
But they say people wanting to join the choir don’t have to be churchgoers. “As long as they are fine about singing about Jesus, then they are welcome to join in,” said Norma.
As well as singers, they would like musicians as well, who can play instruments such as the keyboards, bass guitar, drums, violin, sax and trumpet.
Singers can be of any age, children or adults, and there won’t be any formal auditions.
Norma said: “We will have choir directors who will help to bring people on if necessary. Jassica Burley from Walsall has already agreed to work with us.”
“She was looking for a new challenge and said her prayers had been answered when we asked her.” The couple are trying to get some funding for the choir and members will only be expected to contribute £1 to cover the hiring of a hall to practise in.
Rather than the traditional robes, choir members will be kitted out with something more simple like T-shirts with a logo on.
Richard and Norma are hoping that if it’s successful the choir will be able to perform at different locations and they would welcome sponsorship or donations.
To find out more about joining the choir call Richard on 07832 222480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.