I'm Jo and I've loved singing since I was little girl.
I sang in the school choir when I was a teenager and played the violin (badly) in the school orchestra for a few years, but never had the confidence to get up on stage and sing in front of people.
In 2011 when my sons were 6 and 3, I started singing again. Being a full time mum I was desperate to get some 'me time'. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed being at home with the boys but the thought of having a night off was very appealing!
I watched a good friend performing with The Savoy Singers in Chess at Camberley Theatre and she persuaded me to come along to rehearsals for their next show, a Rodgers & Hammerstein production. I can read music so that helped my confidence and I didn't even need to audition. At my first rehearsal, I was welcomed into the society and Margaret Walker choreographed me on to the stage straight away - I had no choice but to take part in the show! I absolutely loved it and loved learning new music and meeting new people.
Very quickly I became a member of the society. Having watched them perform Chess and sung in the Rodgers & Hammerstein show, I didn't realise that The Savoy Singers' musical specialty was Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. I'm not even sure if I'd heard of Gilbert & Sullivan before, apart from The Pirates of Penzance! Having never studied it in school music lessons, it wasn't a musical genre that had ever been on my radar.
Following that first show, I fell in love with being on stage and began taking part in one show a year with the society. I even managed to persuade my eldest when he was 10, to play a pageboy in my first ever Gilbert & Sullivan production - Iolanthe. Unfortunately I wouldn't get him on stage these days...
Ten years later I now look after all of the society's publicity and am acting co-chairwoman. I've performed in 12 shows with The Savoy Singers and have sung a lot of small solo parts (my favourites are probably singing the opening number in The Greatest Showman and the MC in Oh! What a Lovely War). It's such a friendly group and I've made some great friends over the years.
We perform a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta once a year (usually in March) at Camberley Theatre alongside a fabulous 14 piece orchestra. The opportunity to sing with a live orchestra is amazing. In October we put on a musical revue at Heatherside Community Centre - a show full of well known musical numbers while our audiences tuck into afternoon tea and cakes.
The society celebrated it's 50th anniversary in 2019 and continues to have a reputation for performing excellent G&S shows. That year we performed the brilliant HMS Pinafore, set upon an airship rather than a boat! We always attract fabulous principals to sing wth us, as well as society members who take lead roles too.
Gilbert & Sullivan may not be music that you're familiar with - I certainly wasn't - but the comic shows are always great fun to be in and we have a great time rehearsing.
We are always looking for new members, even more so than ever, so even if you're not sure about G&S, why not come along to one of our Wednesday night (socially distanced) rehearsals for our next show The Sorcerer, and give it a go?
The Sorcerer is a comic operetta and we will be performing the show at Camberley Theatre from 9th - 12th March 2022. It's going to be really fun and you may also spot some classic 80's TV characters if you look closely....
Rehearsals have already started but there's still plenty of time to come along and join us. We rehearse at Heatherside Community Centre from 8.15pm - 10pm every Wednesday. Just drop us an email if you're interested in popping along (use the contact form on our website - www.savoysingers.org.uk) so we can welcome you.
A few friends have asked me why I have never joined a musical theatre group that performs more well known musicals and modern shows. The truth is, I feel so passionately about The Savoy Singers that I want to help drive our society forward for another 50 years. I'd also love to bring G&S to a new younger audience.
If you've listened to my story and fancy joining me and my other society members on stage, please get in touch or come along and watch The Sorcerer to get a taste of what we do. Members are the life blood of our society and we need all the help we can get these days!
We'd love you to join us and fingers crossed you'll fall in love with The Savoy Singers too!