Concert to last around an hour, with retiring collection to
Aprender -Transforming communities through education.
S o u n d b y t e s
Everyone can sing. Everyone needs to.
It’s a matter of life and breath.
"My aim is to reveal the individual’s unique, powerful and natural singing voice but to do so in an informal and fun atmosphere. I believe anyone who wants to sing, can.”
Soundbytes is open to all ages, for all levels of experience and all backgrounds. There is no audition and no need to read music, but you should be able to 'hold a tune'. The term culminates in an informal fund-raisingconcert which lasts about 1 hour.
In one term you will explore the world of harmony singing. Sing familiar songs and learn new ones with a group of people who just love to sing.
Soundbytes choir formed in September 2009 with a rapidly growing membership. Hazel Hannam, founder and choral leader, singer and arranger is passionate about getting people singing “When singing as a collective, it creates a feeling of unity, belonging and well-being. There are also emotional and health benefits too. As individuals we may not be 'solo material' but when many voices sing with blend and balance, we can create the most beautiful music.”
The repertoire is drawn from modern popular music in 3- or 4-part harmonies.
There is no audition and no need to read music.
Practice is essential during the week, and so the parts are accessible via the internet available to members to download to CD or to a mobile device.
At the end of each 10 week term, Soundbytes puts on an informal concert of the terms’ work.
Soundbytes Summer Term 2017:
10 weeks in total, 7:30-9:30pm, plus concert.
click here to book your no-obligation-to-join taster session Tuesday, 18th April, 2017.
SUMMER TERM 2017
April 18, 25
May 02, 09, 16
June 06, 13, 20, 27
Concert 07th July
Ashtead Baptist Church
192 Barnett Wood Lane
Access is via the red door on the right-hand side of the church
"I wasn't sure how much 'sing along' you would get but it was amazing. You are always coming up with new ideas - it's very exciting, challenging and fun being part of Soundbytes!"
"What a wonderful concert! My husband and I were swept away with the standard of singing. The Hallelujah Chorus was amazing and Soundbytes under your guidance can be extremely proud of this performance. Well done Hazel. Please pass on our congratulations to all for creating a WOW factor."
“I have loved the experience of being part of Decibelles”
“It’s lovely to sing in such an enthusiastic choir”
“ I was not sure if I could sing as I haven’t sung in a choir since school, but I have loved learning our songs and we have had such a good laugh together with Hazel”
Soundbytes are very proud to have raised over £15,500 for many local projects and charities.
At Soundbytes' Candlelight Concert in 2012 Hazel introduced Soundbytes' newest fan, Dylan her nephew, just 2 months old. The story goes how he heard Soundbytes singing at the Epsom In Harmony concert back in September, when he was as yet, unborn, but leapt for joy when he heard them singing Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love. His parents were already toying with the idea of calling him Dylan, but saw that as a sign! So Dylan he is.
And in September 2013, Dylan got himself a new cousin when Hazel gave birth to a little boy, Harry!
Soundbytes Next concert: Friday 07 July, 2017 @ 8pm
At the end of each term Soundbytes puts on an informal FREE concert for their friends and families and to everyone who'd like to enjoy an evening of choral singing. They will perform the songs they've learnt during that term plus songs from previous terms making for a wonderful entertaining evening. The concert lasts for about an hour, and each concert supports a local charity. Soundbytes is very proud to have been able to raise over £15,500 for the following charities...
Rainbow Trust -helping families with terminally ill children:
AFASIC -helping young people with speech and language problems:
ALDAG -helping children and young people with learning disabilities:
The Conservatory Club -for Dementia sufferers in Surrey:
GUTS -screening and fighting bowel cancer:
Shooting Star CHASE -children with terminal illness
Epsom Medical Equipment Fund
Riding for the Disabled Assoc. (L'head)
The Children's trust
The Dell Centre
Transform Housing and Support
Besom; Ashtead, Leatherhead and Epsom
GRAND TOTAL: £15604.37
Soundbytes is very proud to be accompanied by Meredith White on piano, and in recent concerts we have also been accompanied by Michael Chidgey on guitar.
So please come along if you can. You'll have a wonderful evening and help raise money for charity.
Please note, due to sound-checking and vocal warm-ups, the doors will not open until 7:30pm.
"I haven't sung since I was at school, not sure I can!"
"I've always wanted to sing, but don't think I'm good enough"
No matter what your experience -good, bad or none at all, SongWorks will ease you into singing.
Everyone can sing, it's a matter of LIFE and BREATH.
Thursdays: 7:45-9:15pm 8 weeks, £57
Spring Term Dates 2017
Summer Term Dates 2017
May 04, 11, 18
June 08, 15, 22, 29
Not everyone wants to work towards a performance. This can be for all sorts of reasons, some don't have time to learn the words and music off by heart. Some feel nervous about singing in front of an audience, and some may feel that their singing voice just isn't 'good enough'.
In September 2011, I started up SongWorks for people who just want to sing simple, enjoyable, heart-warming songs in an informal and relaxed atmosphere.
The songs are drawn from the world of folk, gospel, pop, and from all around the world. There is no 'homework', just turn-up each week and sing!
Basic but essential vocal technique is incorporated so that you will gain confidence in your singing voice, and learn to use it in an effortless and efficient way.
Whether you only sing in the bath or are a regular choir member, there is always room to develop and fine-tune your singing skills. This 8-week course is for everyone. No experience needed, no performance at the end.
- reveal your unique, powerful, natural singing voice
- explore the world of harmony singing
- improve your breathing, posture and mental alertness
- learn fantastic songs
- open to all ages, all levels of experience, all backgrounds
- no solo singing, no music theory, no technical jargon!
- all songs taught by ear, no need to read music
Click here or call 01372 278016 to book your place for a free taster evening Thursday, 27th April, 2017 7:45-9:15pm
Ashtead Baptist Church
192 Barnett Wood Lane
Access is via the red door on the right-hand side of the church
for your free taster evening, please contact Hazel.
The Bookham Belles, Great Bookham's WI have not only got a natty new name for their choir but have now performed for the first time! 'The Decibelles' sang to the rest of the Bookham Belles 21.03.17 at their monthly meeting. They sang Blackbird in 3-part harmony and featured Sophie Lund, also a Decibelle on flute. This was followed by Three Spirituals, each piece beautiful in it's own right, but when sung together weaves a beautiful tapestry of sound, light and shade, uplifting and meditative.
Hazel said, "They may have been nervous, but you would never have known. They created a wonderful sound, and looked as though they enjoyed it too! Leading a choir of just female singers is very exciting. They have a sweet, innocent, pure sound but with substance and emotion. It's very exciting to hear."
A choir for the Women's Institute...
A new year, a new choir! The Bookham Belles, a WI group based in Bookham, have decided that they'd like their very own choir and have enlisted Hazel Hannam to be their Musical Director and choral leader. The launch saw 21 ladies attend but this total looks likely to expand soon as some were unable to attend the first week and word of mouth will soon encourage a greater participation. (Jan 2017)
A Debut Performance
The new Headley Court choir gave their very first performance on 11th December to the rest of the workforce at a coffee morning at Headley Court. Naturally they were nervous but once the opening introduction of the piece began they were focussed and in control and gave a stunning rendition of Run in 3-part harmony. They were rewarded with rapturous applause and as a result more staff wanted to enrol! It was a very proud moment for the singers and for Hazel. "Considering the choir was only formed 3 months ago, they did a fine job. They sang with confidence and commitment to the song and with plenty of emotion making the song come alive. They did themselves proud!" (Dec 2017)
New Office Choir Launched...
September 2016 saw the launch of a brand new choir for the staff of Headley Court, the rehabilitation centre for the armed forces. For one hour per week during the lunchtime break, 30 of the staff come together and sing. It is a chance for the staff to forget about work and lift themselves to another place.
Through the choir's infancy they have found that already, they are meeting people within the workforce that they didn't know previously.
Singing is a great leveller, no matter what your pay band, rank or previous experience, the choir make music and unite.
They are eagerly planning their first performances to some of the rest of the workforce in the next few weeks, which is pretty good going for a choir that's barely 3 months young!
Back in December 2015, Soundbytes' concert raised money for a local project, The Dell Centre. For the past 40+ years, St. Giles C of E church in Ashtead had a small hut that was used for meetings, play groups and all the 'usual' events that take place within the community and within the church.
But it was literally, a hut, that was no longer fit for purpose, and 2 years ago, it was decided by the members of St. Giles that a new proper building should be built to replace the crumbling venue.
And so, with fund-raising, government grants and from the generous donations from around the area, the money was raised and a sparkling new building now stands in the dell of St. Giles.
And in April, 2016, Hazel and her husband were invited to attend the official opening of The Dell Centre. It was attended by the Bishop of Gulidford and Chris Grayling MP and many local people who had helped raise funds to see this project come to fruition. Soundbytes were very proud to have been a part of the fund-raising effort.
Soundbytes will be singing at The Theatre, Leatherhead Saturday, 21st November'15 as part of The Downsmen Barbershop's special concert.
Give Me A Song will also feature the barbershop quartet RECKLESS. An outstanding group, they have won numerous awards and Gold Medals.
Also performing is a rising star, Catherine Jones who has performed at Glyndebourne.
It looks set to be a fun-filled and enjoyable musical mix of stars...not to be missed!
You can buy tickets direct from the Box Office on 01372 365141 or via their website (booking fees apply) or direct from Soundbytes (no booking fees!) from Tim Tennent (see top of page for link)
Epsom and Ewell Business Awards
In October 2014, Hazel Hannam was delighted to be nominated for, and then shortlisted for the Epsom and Ewell Business Excellence Awards 2014 for Commitment to the Community. Of the 20+ businesses that were nominated, Soundbytes and 2 others were shortlisted, and Hazel Hannam won the award.
Chris Grayling MP was there to present the award. "I was absolutely delighted and honoured to win such a wonderful award. I love what I do...I love the enjoyment that singing gives to people, not just the singers, but the listeners too, and I love that we have been able to raise lots for local charities in the process."
Soundbytes will be performing at the next Epson In Harmony concert
After the success of the first collaborative concert in 2012, Epsom Borough Council are joining forces once again with Epsom Race Course and have invited local choirs and Epsom Silver Band to put together another evening of song to commemorate the start of the Great War.
Tickets will go on sale soon and available to buy through Epsom Playhouse and will be £12 with proceeds going to charities.
Choir of the Year 2014
For the first time Soundbytes entered a choir competition! The audition took place at the prestigious St Johns Smith Square on 11th May'14, and performed two songs to 2 judges and 12 very large choirs amounting to approximately 700 spectators. "It was very nerve-racking but an amazing experience." commented Hazel Hannam, "We didn't get through to the next round but I was very pleased with SB's performance and we learned so much from watching and listening to the other choirs. And we had some fantastic feedback from the judges who awarded us some very good marks. It has given us some pointers for the future and we will definitely be going for it again in two years time!"
Hazel is back from maternity leave..! And is very excited to seeing SB again. "I love my new role as a mum, and Harry is a joy to be with, but I do miss my other baby (SB) and I'm very much looking forward to singing with them again."
Lisa Robathan is taking on Soundbytes for a term
while Hazel is on maternity leave. (Sept-Dec'13) Lisa runs at least two other choirs, but fortunately, was available on Tuesdays to look after the SB singers while Hazel is away. "It is a relief to know that SB is in good hands and won't get 'rusty' in my absence!"
Soundbytes sung in Epsom's busy shopping centre in support of Epsom Hospital Medical Equipment Fund. They managed to raise just over £256 in just one hour! Well done Soundbytes.
Soundbytes is proud to have been part of 'Epsom in Harmony'.
Friday, 28th September, 2012. An evening of choral harmony as part of a weekend of events, celebrating Epsom Borough's 75th Anniversary.
Soundbytes performed along side Epsom Choral Society, The Downsmen, Sponsalia Chamber Choir, Ewell Ladies Choir and Epsom Male Voice Choir. Each choir sang for around 15mins and were interspersed with music from Epsom and Ewell Silver Band.
For 2 of their songs, Lynda Chang accompanied Soundbytes on piano and Kim Derry played the flute, bringing a wonderful sparkle to the performance.
The concert was attended by the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, along with Chris Grayling MP and other dignitaries. The proceeds from the ticket sales plus a retiring collection at the door went to the Mayor's 3 charities Dyscover, Phab Epsom and the Epsom Racing Staff Welfare.
The concert took place at: The Oaks Suite, The Duchess Stand on Epsom Downs race course. Figures are to be confirmed but it looks as though around £4000 could have been raised for charity which is a fantastic achievement. And many members of the audience have asked if this might become an annual event. Watch this space...
Click on this sound-clip to hear Soundbytes singing
Here Comes the Sun at the Epsom In Harmony Concert, 2012
Would you like to improve your singing technique? What do singing tutors mean by 'support'? Trouble with your breathing?
Hazel offers private lessons to help you fine-tune your tuning, get your breath under control and help you find your natural singing voice. She will also help you work on your performance skills or other specific areas you feel you need to master.
Get in touch with Hazel to find out more about private tuition.
Workshops -for your place of work, or for your choir.
Hazel can organise workshops for small and large groups of singers (or non-singers) either to work on specific issues or to just have fun learning to sing in harmony, warm uplifting songs, rounds, pop tunes, choral pieces, spiritual, gospel and folk. Get in touch for details.
Would you like to start up a workplace choir? Hazel can organise an hour-long lunchtime weekly sing for your place of work.
Singing together IS team-building, it promotes a feeling of unity, singing is a great de-stresser, an informal performances to the rest of the workplace will unite colleagues not just within the choir, but with those listening.
Get in touch with Hazel to discuss your requirements and how you can make this happen!
Singing, it seems, is a gift. We discovered melody even before we learned to speak. The first sounds we made using "dadada" and "rrr" enabled us to create our own communicative environment. Father or mother may have joined in later and rocked us to sleep while singing or humming a melody. This gift remains with us throughout our lives, we sing in grief and in joy, when we are alone or in the company of others. Our memories and emotions are linked to these songs. People with severe dementia are frequently unable to recognise their own family, but they remember songs from their childhood, humming the melodies or even singing entire verses faultlessly.
Singing has a wide range of personal benefits besides learning about music and how to create it. As well as developing and improving healthy singing techniques, and also being a thoroughly enjoyable experience, a recent education research project at Roehampton University has shown these workshops to have multiple physiological and social benefits for the participants.
Working with the voice brings many physical benefits (such as improved posture and respiratory strength, increased energy levels and also stimulation for the mind), but there are also many social and personal benefits (boosted self-esteem and confidence, improved communication and listening skills, raised self-awareness and awareness of others, and developed team working skills),
“When a people lose their song, they often lose identity, cohesion and morale. When people do sing together, they often find the experience meaningful, energising and refreshing, and they come away with hope, a lift of spirit and a sense of belonging.” (White, 2001)
Health & Well-being
"Because singing is visceral (relating to, or affecting, our bodies), it can't help but effect change" says Suzanne Hanser, chair of the music therapy department at Berklee College of Music, Boston.
Studies of human emotional response have found that participating in musical activity can bring more enjoyment than many other leisure activities, enhancing our willingness to interact with others, and “at least one study has suggested that involvement in the arts, including as a spectator, can prolong your life.” (Kaufman, 1999)
Professor Graham Welch tells us that people who sing are healthier than people who don’t. Singing exercises the lungs and tones up the intercostal muscles and diaphragm. Singing also causes deeper breathing than many other forms of exercise, opening up the respiratory tubes and sinuses as well as increasing aerobic capacity. This leads to a greater intake of oxygen, benefiting the heart and circulation, and decreasing muscle tension. (Welch & Thurman, 1997, White, 2001)
Further studies have linked singing with a lower heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and reduced stress. In Hancox’s study on the perceived benefits associated with active participation in choral singing, 84 members of a university college choral society were surveyed to see whether they felt there were ways in which participation in the choir may have benefited their health and well-being. Some participants reported feeling more positive, feeling more alert and feeling spiritually uplifted. With respect to health benefits, 84% of participants gave responses, of which the main themes related to improved lung function and control over breathing, improved mood and stress reduction. The study showed that significantly more women than men experienced feelings of well-being and relaxation. (Hancox, 2001)
Several studies have found that singing also enhances immunity, one study, conducted at the University of Frankfurt, finding that singers had higher levels of immunoglobulin A and cortisol (indicators of enhanced immunity) after singing Mozart's "Requiem" than before. The activity of singing is also thought to block some of the neural pathways that pain travels through (Hancox, 2001).
Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that the sacculus, an organ in the inner ear connected to the part of the brain responsible for registering pleasure, responds quickly to low frequency, high intensity sounds, commonly found in singing. Under the right circumstances this can lead to the release of pain relieving, or pleasure giving, endorphins. (White, 2001) Increased confidence and self-esteem are further benefits that teachers and educators deliberately aim to develop in their students. As Silber tells us, “self-esteem, where the personal and the relational meet, is also an area where the choir can contribute. The development of new skills, the successful mastery of the complex tasks involved in choral singing, and the affirmation that comes after a well-received performance, may contribute to a positive self-image.” (Laya Silber, 2005, p254)
“Warm-up exercises are a series of activities that get the body and brain into gear and introduce healthy and effective singing practice at the same time… We all learn in different ways and each singer will respond to different stimuli. Some people need to understand the physical processes before enjoying an action, while others respond instinctively and are less interested in the techniques involved.” (Brewer, 2002, p.2)
Breathing exercises have the benefit of sending larger amounts of oxygen to the brain, but the effects of stretching exercises are not entirely obvious. Stretching can certainly help to improve circulation, and exercises to lengthen the body are particularly good for this (Dennison & Dennison, 1989). Neck-rolls, in particular, can help with circulation of blood to the head, but also have the benefit of heightening binocular vision and binaural hearing.
This type of exercise is also expected to be benefitial to those participants for whom singing is a new experience, and Dennison and Dennison, authors of Brain Gym, give a detailed explanation of the body processes involved: “The Brain Gym Lengthening Activities help students to develop and reinforce those neural pathways that enable them to make connections between what they already know in the back of the brain and the ability to express and process that information in the front of the brain… The front portion of the brain, especially the frontal lobe, is involved in comprehension, motor control, and rational behaviours necessary for participation in social situations. The Lengthening Activities have been found to relax those muscles and tendons that tighten and shorten by brainstem reflex when we are in unfamiliar learning situations.” (Dennison & Dennison, 1989, p16)
Hazel started life singing at every opportunity in the church in which she was brought up, be it solos, (first one aged 4 at a carol service) or in duets and small ensembles, making up harmonies as she went. She accompanied herself on the guitar and on the piano.
In her growing-up years outside of church music, Hazel developed a love of Jazz at first being inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, and this in turn led to other great jazz vocalists like Peggy Lee, Julie London, Nat King Cole, which in turn led to great jazz musicians, realising that you didn't have to 'sing' to be expressive and you could pick up fantastic articulation and expression from musicians like Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane on horns to amazing pianists like Bill Evans, Bud Powell and Hampton Hawes. (to name but a few)
She studied Jazz Singing part-time at the City Lit as well as Jazz Piano for 3 years. For 10 years, Hazel sang jazz at clubs in London including Pizza on the Park, various Pizza Express restaurants and in the Consort Cafe at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as at private functions from weddings, birthdays and anniversaries, to corporate events such as launches of New Cars or Art Gallery exhibitions.
Hazel studied a City & Guilds 7303 Award in 2009 at Guildford College for Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector.
Also in 2009, Hazel studied Fundamentals of the Singing Voice 1 at the City Lit, London. This is a professional development course for singing teachers and singers covering the anatomy, physiology, acoustics and health of the singing voice, with lecturers eminent in their fields leading the sessions.
In 2010, she went on to study an Introduction To Accent Breathing for Singers, a technique from speech therapy which works on diaphragmatic-abdominal breathing and support for the voice. It develops the efficient co-ordinating of breath, sound and articulation.
In 2011, Hazel completed and graduated from an Intermediate Level of Choral Conducting. This course is run by the Association of British Choral Directors and is accredited by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The course was under the tutorship of highly respected
In September, 2016, Hazel was asked to launch and run a choir for the staff at Headley Court, a rehabilitation centre for injured military personnel.
Hazel: "It is amazing how much can be achieved in one hour per week!...and within just a few weeks they are starting to sound like a proper choir! I might be motivating them, but they are inspiring me."
"The choir was set up to inspire and bring together the staff and already there is a growing feeling of unity and camaraderie."
Are you interested in having a choir at your place of work?
Would you like to form a choir within your community or leisure group?
Would you like to attend a Singing Workshop? Would you like your choir to have a singing workshop?