Retired fireman David Kennedy swaps a life of danger for a life of song with new choir venture

avid Kennedy has swapped a siren- filled day for nights filled with song.

Wednesday, 4th February 2015, 8:00 am
Photo: David Hurst David Kennedy, oganiser of Choir One Community Choir who sing in Wesley's Methodist Church, Garstang

After 30 years in the fire service, David has retired to pursue his burning desire for music and is hoping that he can get the local community to come on board for the ride.

David, 50, from Bowgreave in Garstang, has for 30 years been perfecting the balance between his dangerous day job as a fireman and his on-going love of all things musical.

He joined the fire service in 1983, starting in Accrington but has been stationed all across Lancashire, in Blackpool, Chorley, Bamber Bridge and for the most time in Penwortham.

Born in Ripon, North Yorkshire, his father sung in church and other choirs for 70 years, and as a small child David was greatly influenced by his hobby.

So much so, that at seven he began to play the piano, and at 11 he started to learn how to play the flute.

By the age of 16, he had become the principal flautist for the Lancashire Schools’ Symphony Orchestra. He also achieved grade 8 in piano, flute and singing with the Associated Board for the Royal School of Music.

And his passion is still aflame as David is now fronting a new community choir based in Garstang and showing people just how good a sing-song can be for you.

David, who is now a professional musician, said: “I have always loved music even in school it was my passion.

“It was so different to the fire service but it was a great life balance as you were in danger one moment and relaxing in song the next.

“I always wanted to start a choir to encourage people to sing, because there is a lot of un-sung talent out there.”

Throughout his time as a fire fighter David maintained his music and was director of Garstang Musical Productions and before that director of Over Wyre Choral Society.

He teaches across schools in Lancaster and is also a piano, saxophone, clarinet and flute player.

However he now has another string to add to his bow as he fronts Choir One, a contemporary sounding singing group for adults.

David said: “I was looking for somewhere between Lancaster and Garstang to allow for people from Lancaster to come and join as well but because most members where from Garstang we decided to move over here.

“We sing contemporary and uplifting music there is rock, pop soul, a completely diverse range all sorts of things not church based at all.

“I know that the word choir can put people off but we are really a fun-based singing group with the focus on enjoying yourself.

“Experience is not necessary and there is no audition because the idea of the choir was to encourage the people who sing in the shower or in the car but wouldn’t ever think of joining a choir that this was their opportunity to join in and get with the community spirit.

“Even if you think you are tone deaf don’t be put off because as a collective the sound can be great and if you haven’t sung in a group before singing harmonies for the first time can be a real buzz.”

The choir, which began in Ellel Village Hall in Galgate, now meets in Wesley’s Methodist Church on Park Hill Road in Garstang on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 until 9pm.

“There are all sorts of benefits of singing it improves oxygen flow, and strengthens the upper body and helps to reduce stress.

“Especially singing in a group. I think it really increases the sense of belonging in the community.

“It can even be the answer to a stressful job.

“I saw a saying the other day that said singing gives you the same feeling as eating chocolate but without the calories which I thought was really good!“

But despite David’s professional background and musical performances, he has made it clear that in his singing group the focus is firmly on fun.

“I want to make it really clear that there is no pressure in our group, the focus is on enjoying yourself.

“We probably will go on to do some performances even if it is just a couple of community fairs but that will be decided as a group decision. However, our main focus at the moment is on the weekly sessions.

“Who knows what it might lead to, if they have the confidence for this choir you don’t know what could happen.”

Choir One sessions are £5 and are held every Tuesday for ages 18 and above.

There will be no session of February 10 but will continue as normal from February 17.

For more information on how to join please contact David Kennedy at [email protected] or on 07510557081.