In Christmas 2011, a member of our regulatory and professional discipline team, barrister Elizabeth Taheri, was drawn to the hype surrounding the Military Wives’ choir. She was instantly hooked, remembering choirs she had been in during her school years
Having previously considered joining a local choir, but been defeated or discouraged by trying to balance her other work/life commitments, the idea of starting a Kingsley Napley choir was born. From quickly engaging the support of Kingsley Napley’s managing partner Linda Woolley, to sending out an email to the firm to garner interest, the choir has been gaining momentum ever since the first rehearsal on 21 February 2012.
Kirsty Allen, a solicitor in our clinical negligence department recalls her experience in joining the choir. “I was persuaded to come along to choir by two colleagues. Apart from singing in the car, or on a night out I hadn’t sung at all since school, and even then my participation was limited,” she says. “On my way to the first rehearsal I remember feeling nervous but the friendliness of the choir quickly put me at ease. I return to my desk feeling totally refreshed after rehearsals. Singing and concentrating on something completely different to work is very energising.”
The choir rehearses every Tuesday lunchtime for an hour in our conference meeting room where other fee earners or client meetings will not be disturbed by the cacophony! Choir is run on the premise that there will always be days when people can’t make rehearsals, but we have managed a fairly consistent turnout of 10-15 attendees per week.
No previous musical experience is required, and the choir includes a complete range of musical abilities. One of the challenges we face is making sure choir remains a fun breather from a busy day, whilst also choosing repertoire that will challenge the more experienced singers and give us something to work towards. We have discovered that things work best when we sing a real mix of repertoire, and we always try to have one traditional choral piece, as well as a poppier more well known number. Our favourites so far have been as varied as “Goodnight Sweetheart”, to a Renaissance piece “O Fly Not Love”, a Swedish folk song “Sommerpsalm” and an Irish folk song “Irish Blessing”.
Charlotte Bradley, head of our family department, explains what she enjoys about choir: “As someone who’s always enjoyed singing in various choirs I was thrilled when the Kingsley Napley choir was set up. I have two young children and work full time so I’ve not had the time to continue with a choir outside work – it’s been fantastic being able to sing on the premises in the middle of the day.
“What I hadn’t anticipated was the quality of all the singers in the choir and what fun we’d have. Apart from the perennial problem of not being able to persuade enough men to join, the brave ones who attend make a great sound. Reflective of the ethos of the firm there is no hierarchy and important decisions (like choosing our music for the year!) have been made collectively and easily. It’s been great to get to know other members of the firm who you’ve barely met before.”
Music in Offices have provided us with a conductor, and performance opportunities. Our first conductor was Joel Thomas but work commitments saw him stepping down in March 2014. Mark Sproson has taken on the mantle of attempting to finesse our sound for competition. He has already injected some new enthusiasm and energy into our rehearsals, stepping valiantly in to the breach just a month prior to the Legal Harmony competition.
Legal Harmony will be the first time that Kingsley Napley have competed. Previous performances have been for internal firm functions as well as external charity events, including singing under the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square in 2012 and at a fundraiser for Accidents Against Medical Accidents in October 2013.
The Charity we have chosen to support for Legal Harmony is DEMAND, who are one of the charities Kingsley Napley are currently supporting through our CSR programme. DEMAND provide bespoke equipment to assist disabled people with their everyday lives, with a focus on providing equipment to help people who cannot find an ‘off-shelf’ solution.
Kingsley Napley is delighted to be part of the very first Legal Harmony event and very much looking forward to singing in Southwark Cathedral.