Our Music

What do we sing?

Sydenham Singers are a friendly bunch of people, brought together by a love of music and a desire to express it through singing. We’re not a pop choir, a church choir, a choral society or any other sort of choir that is then tied to a particular sort of music!

We sing without accompaniment – “a capella” – but that doesn’t limit our song choice, which is gathered from all corners of the world. Whether it’s Folk, Pop, African, Georgian, Maori, Motown or even Blues, our leader Janna is brilliant at teaching us a wide range of wonderful songs. If there is one common theme, it is that our music is food for the soul.


Learning new songs and harmonies stimulates me mentally. I always leave feeling invigorated even if sometimes I felt tired at the start of the session.“- Gerry

Over the years the choir has expanded and improved and can now tackle more complex harmonies without fear, but it hasn’t lost its inclusive feel and ‘open to anyone vibe’ regardless of singing ability. The songs are rarely difficult and it’s a lovely environment to sing in.” – Janice

What do we do in our rehearsals?

Each rehearsal starts with a warm-up, relaxing our bodies and vocal chords, letting go of the stresses of everyday life and connecting with the group. What this means, in practice, is that Janna makes a sound and we sing it back to her! It may be a growl, a tuneful howl or a lovely low ‘la!’ but the range of sounds and movements soon breaks down any inhibitions and sets the tone of relaxation and fun.

Then we learn our music by ear, listening to Janna sing each part first, and learning the words from lyric sheets. Songs can be simple, with just two parts, or can be broken down into more harmonies. You will be amazed how achievable even complex-sounding 4-part songs can be with Janna’s expert and patient coaching. It feels both energising and rewarding to learn different songs in a session.

In the middle of each session, we have a break and treat ourselves to a chat with tea and cake.

I found it difficult at first not having sung for years and then only with written music, so it required building new skills of listening and remembering, but it’s so rewarding when it all comes together and we get it right! There’s a big variety of different types of song and the choir leader is patient with those who need more help.” – Sophie