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Meet SHE: Rosa

Meet Rosa, a top who first joined SHE Choir Manchester 3 and a half years ago and moved to the London choir around this time last year.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

LDN or MCR? Well my first ever SHE rehearsal was the week after the Reclaim The Night march in Manchester. I saw the choir perform and immediately thought these were my people. We did a song called something like ‘Seven Shooting Stars in One Night…’ It was very high and I sang very quietly,  but I knew I was onto something great!

Had you been in a choir before?

I sing round campfires a lot which is kinda like a disorganised choir.

What’s your power animal?

When I lived in Mexico I decided my spirit animal was a sea turtle. I was so convinced I wanted to get a tattoo of one, my mum had to convince me that getting a tattoo in Mexico was a bad idea, and since I’ve been living in London I just don’t feel the same way.

And your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

I love Jane the Virgin with whatever junk food I can get my hands on!

What’s your favourite SHE number?

I love Youth, it’s such a beautiful arrangement, but Bieber is such a banger and is so fun to sing!

What’s the story behind your name?

Rosa Luxemburg and Rosa Parks, both incredible women. If I can be a fraction of who they were then I would have succeeded in life!

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

Emily Spicer has the most incredible voice and always knows all of the words. And Kate Westbrook is incredibly cool, conducts amazingly and I wish I could be a bit more like her.

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done?

Maybe going to live in Bolivia by myself 2 weeks before Christmas aged 18 … or cycling the death road when I got there.

What have you learnt from your SHE sisters?

There are so many incredible women out there waiting to be your friend, people have the coolest jobs ever and if we could make our own society it would be banging (but we would all die as we couldn’t repopulate).

Where is your happy place?

Currently I love swimming at London Fields Lido on a frosty night when the water is steaming.

Without SHE…

I would be lost and have half the amount of female friends that I have now!

 

Meet SHE: Rachel C

This week we’re meeting Rachel C, a middle with 7 years of SHE under her belt.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

Well seeing as we’re doing this – I am one of only two existing members who was at the first ever rehearsal, in Manchester 2010! The other one is Amy, still in the Manchester choir. We sang the Basement Jaxx medley and I remember feeling a pure unadulterated joy so seldom experienced in adulthood. Alas like heroin, no hit is ever as sweet as the first…

What’s your power animal?

Emperor penguin.

If you starred in your own TV show, what track would be the theme song?

Whitney, I’m Every Woman.

What can people learn about from you?

Harry Potter. Ask me anything.

And what have you learnt from your SHE sisters?

You only see people’s rehearsal personas for 1.5 hours a week – but there’s so much more going on behind that.

What’s your greatest weakness?

Getting involved.

What’s your number one shower hit?

Showering is one of the few activities I undertake in silence.

Where is your happy place?

Rehearsing in the dungeon. Or playing competitive sport, especially rounders.

Without SHE…

My life currently wouldn’t have such a strong women-only space in it.

 

Meet SHE: Harriet

Meet Harriet, a top who has been in SHE, on and off, for about 4 and a half years.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

I was super nervous. There were only about 8 of us in a yurt in King’s Cross. I don’t think I talked to anyone! But we did Boy from School by Hot Chip which was beautiful and I fell in love.

What’s your power animal?

A puppy. Intense excitement followed by intense fatigue. I’m easily distracted and I love having my hair stroked.

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

There are too many mouth-watering and exciting options here for me to be specific.

If you weren’t at rehearsal on a Monday night, what would you be doing?

What I do every other night – getting in my onesie and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

You love it when…

I can pay in exact change. It makes me feel so accomplished.

You hate it when…

You’re about to sneeze and then someone puts their finger under your nose or something and it goes away.

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

So many women! All SHEwolves are amazing and inspiring. I want to thank Kate W for introducing me to choir, and who I have watched overcome personal barriers and insecurities and absolutely blossom into such a fierce and passionate woman. And one somewhat unsung hero is Sammy – she has a really beautiful voice and such a good ear for harmonies. And she’s just generally a lovely and warm person to be around.

What’s your most niche hobby or interest?

Super Mario.

What can people learn about from you?

Generally, psychology and mental health things. Choir-wise, I don’t know? Maybe just how to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’?

Without SHE…

I would be half of who I am now.

Meet SHE: Isabelle

This week, meet Isabelle, a bottom who has been in SHE for two years.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

“Crap, I’ve forgotten how to sing…nobody seems to have noticed…just look like you know what you’re doing…and for the love of God, remember some of the names. Wait. Did she just call me Louisa?”. It was awesome, I was in zero doubt about coming back. Definitely one of those moments of taking the plunge and launching yourself into a big unknown thing. Fortunately the thing turned out to be gloriously warm and welcoming.

What was the first album you ever bought?

Black Eyed Peas, Elephunk.

What’s your power animal?

A survey recently told me that my spirit animal is a tiger. In that past I’ve been told wolf, and one friend also once said shark … still unclear what they were getting at.

What’s your number one shower hit?

Dream a Little Dream of Me.

And your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

American Horror Story and Pizza Pilgrims.

What would be your choir superpower?

I dream of having two voices, so I could try out harmonies in the shower, in bed, on the commute, etc.

You always cry when…

It takes a lot. You basically have to either break my heart, or get me chopping a really pungent onion.

What have you learnt from your SHE sisters?

Nothing is as scary as you think it’s going to be. So far…

What will you do when you retire?

Unclear. Probably hate on the youth of today and add gin to drinks which really shouldn’t have gin in them. And if I won the lottery at any point,  I want to have a grand piano with a fairly mellow tone, and a large hall with swooping staircases, and I’ll glide down the stairs to play moody Beethoven late at night.

Without SHE…

It would be just me singing in the shower.

Meet SHE: Abby

It’s time to meet Abby, a top who joined SHE 3 and a half years ago.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

I had only recently moved to London and was convinced that everyone was aloof and terrifying. My first rehearsal was the first place I had been where absolutely everyone smiled at me when I walked in. And then Ellie started conducting Stevie Wonder and I thought she was an absolute goddess. I was hooked.

Had you been in a choir before SHE?

Never.

What’s your power animal?

Hmmmmmmm. A bear. They are affectionate and fierce in equal measure.

And the dream boxset/takeaway combo?

House of Cards and dim sum. Especially those little char siu buns. Like, 20 of them.

If you weren’t at rehearsal on Monday nights, what would you be doing?

Currently, breastfeeding a very hungry small person. All. The. Time.

What’s your party trick?

I can bend my thumb back on itself. And I’m really good at that game where you pick up an increasingly small cardboard box from the floor with your teeth.

What was the first album you bought?

It was either a Michael Jackson album or the Lion King soundtrack on cassette…

What’s the story behind your name?

My dad named me after an ex-girlfriend of his. Without telling my mum. Thanks Dad.

 

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

You’re all bloody wonderful in many many ways.

Spicer for her eternal good mood and always making me chuckle. And the fact that she sings like a seasoned black jazz singer and makes my insides go funny.

Elena for her magical musical ability and internal catalogue of absolute tunes.

Marleigh for her dance moves and excellent trousers.

Sophie for being terrifyingly productive at life. I have asked her to be my life coach on several occasions.

Gemma for always making eye contact and having a huge grin when you’re conducting. She makes me feel confident and that what I’m doing is not utterly ridiculous.

Isabelle for the face she makes when she’s conducting -it’s all deep and serene and joyous.

Kate for being my inspiration to get up and do shit that scares me. In SHE and in life. And for her unique brand of geek chic – no one else wears trousers and socks to such wonderful effect.

If you starred in your own TV show, what track would be the theme song?

SHE singing Bills at full pelt.

Without SHE..

My experience of living in London would have been very different. SHE made me feel at home.

 

Meet SHE: Bianca

This week we’re meeting Bianca, a veteran bottom who has been in SHE for 5 years.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

It was the very first SHE London rehearsal on a Sunday in September 2012 and there were about 8 of us including Susie, Hannah and Ellie who started it, in Susie’s living room in Olympia, and we learnt a song by the Postal Service. I started off in the middle and halfway through the song realised I was definitely a bottom and switched down. I think I mainly mouthed it I was so quiet. I came away feeling really excited and happy to be part of something so much fun.

What’s your power animal?

Not really an animal person but I do love a good monkey.

What’s your most niche hobby?

Surely SHE choir? If not then maybe an obsessive like of computer Solitaire and Quiz Up.

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

Call the Midwife/Stranger Things and Japanese food.

What’s your fantasy arrangement?

Craig David’s version of Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself mashed up with Cheryl Cole’s Fight For Your Love. Don’t judge me please. Also someone please please arrange this!

People come to you for…

Fairly blunt advice, a humorous take on a sad problem and someone to eat a lot of food with.

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done?

Erm I was once teargassed in Niger?

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

So many, how to choose? Tashinga’s sass always brightens up my day, Kate W’s arrangements get my juices flowing and I love how much Alice uses her mouth when she sings!

If you starred in your own TV show, what track would be the theme song?

Going Round The Twist.

Without SHE…

I’d have no outlet for creativity and a distinct lack of hobbies.

Meet SHE: Elena

This week, we’re meeting Elena, a bottom who has been in the choir for about 3 years.

What did you make of your first rehearsal?

It took a year of deliberation before I plucked up to courage to just go for it. I’m glad I did as it was utterly joyful! There were only about 8 of us and we learnt Teenage Dirtbag outdoors in the August sunshine – bliss.

What do you fear and loathe?

Greed, apathy and fennel.

What’s your fantasy arrangement?

Nina Simone – Sinnerman. Or a Dionne Warwick medley.

What’s your power animal?

Raccoons – they wash their food before they eat it!

What can people learn about from you?

Basic music theory, how to throw a punch, nutrition.

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

My fellow bottom, Naomi. She claims to have no musical talent, yet every time I hear her sing she sounds amazing (and in tune!). I pronounced her name wrong for over a year, and not once did she complain. She can do plumbing.

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

The Wire and something hot.

You always cry when…

I hear Dido’s Lament by Purcell.

Without SHE…

I would’ve forgotten about the sheer joy of singing harmonies in a group. I wouldn’t have met such a large group of inspiring and talented women.

Meet SHE: Lois

Next up it’s Lois, a top who has been in SHE for almost 2 years.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

We did Ne-Yo and I instantly loved it. It’s one of my fave songs from being a teen.

Had you been in a choir before?

At school but not for very long.

What’s your power animal?

One of my fave animals are penguins. And I guess we have things in common. I also like to huddle up. I like finding nice pebbles. And I have a weird walk.

You hate it when…

The skin bit on popcorn gets stuck at the back of your tongue. People stand in front of the escalator when they get off.

What have you learnt from your SHE sisters?

Everyone has their own story and you should never assume you have someone all sussed out. And be kind to yourself.

What can people learn about from you?

How to throw a pot. How to make the BEST roast potatoes. And brownies.

What’s the story behind your name?

My mum had lentil soup the night before I was born and wanted to call me Lentil and my dad refused, luckily. So for ages I just didn’t have a name and then he just came through the door one day and was like Lois?

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

Gaggh too many. The Bridge. Friends. Weeds. And probably either Mexican or Thai.

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

Everyone! We’re all great. If I have to choose… Elena for always creating amazing arrangements with beautiful harmonies and having the best wardrobe. Harriet for being so lovely. Abby for being pregnant whilst conducting/dancing to No Diggity. I will never forget the hilarity of that situation.

Without SHE…

I would not have realised how special and important it is to have a group of women friends.

 

Meet SHE: Beth

This week we’re meeting Beth, a bottom who has been in SHE for a year and a bit.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

I was so nervous I barely remember it! I do remember leaving with a warm glow though!

What’s your number one shower hit?

Frosty the Snowman, whatever time of year. Context-dependent memory is the worst.

What’s your power animal?

A meerkat. Strength in numbers and always on the lookout for each other.

Where’s your happy place?

The Tate Modern. Hands down my favourite place in the whole world.

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

The Office US/vegan pizza.

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

Difficult to pick just one! Elena for her uncanny ability to always know what we should be doing in every song, Bianca for her moves and Naomi for a lower range I can only dream of.

You love it when…

The tube door opens right where you are standing. Still satisfying after two and a half years in London.

What would be your fantasy arrangement?

A medley through country’s greatest singers – I’m talking George Jones, Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank and Willie. Please, someone indulge me.

Without SHE…

I simply wouldn’t be singing.

Meet SHE: Marleigh

World, meet Marleigh – a bottom who has been in SHE for about two years.

Tell us about your first rehearsal.

I remember just knowing that I absolutely had to go back. I felt like I’d uncovered some amazing secret hub of awesomeness and it was totally addictive. I think I sang really, really quietly for the first month, though.

Had you been in a choir before?

I was in a choir at school, but I had to pretend to be able to read music to be in it, so I felt like I was blagging it quite a lot. We also had to wear these really cheap shirts to concerts that were lilac and showed up ALL THE SWEAT PATCHES. I once stuck panty liners to the underarms in the hope that it would hide it. I just rustled a lot. Oh, puberty…

What’s your power animal?

A springbok. They’re very bouncy (I also bounce a lot).

What’s your most niche hobby?

I’ve recently got really into calligraphy, although I’m not very good at it. It’s surprisingly mindful and soothing.

What’s your dream boxset/takeaway combo?

Peep Show and a good Thai takeaway.

What’s the story behind your name?

Everyone thought I was going to be a boy for reasons unknown so I was going to be Marley, after Bob, but then I was a girl, so they decided that Marleigh was more feminine.

Praise a fellow SHEwolf.

Tashinga never fails to make me laugh, even when I’m in an uber-grump. She has the best, most infectious smile and an awesome sense of humour.

What’s your greatest weakness?

Anything with sugar in it, and jazzy trousers.

What would be your superpower?

I would really like to have Bernard’s watch. It would be so handy.

What can people learn about from you?

How to make a mean curry.

Without SHE…

My singing would be limited to when I’m doing the hoovering/drying my hair and I wouldn’t have such an incredible group of amazing women in my life.