Concert venues and dates for the Staxton Singers Christmas concerts
The Staxton Singers, which began as a village group in 1985, will perform four times next month with music graduate and performer Robyn Keech at the helm.
Robyn joined the Staxton Singers in April and has led the 35-strong choir through several summer performances.
“This Christmas we’ll sing an array of carols and songs which showcase the best of the Staxton Singers, including a four-part arrangement of the Twelve Days of Christmas and the Saint-Saens Ave Verum, which has wonderful harmonies,” said Robyn.
Robyn’s first solo performance was at St Martins CofE Primary School, aged 10. The YMCA beckoned and by age 14 Robyn was leading the singing element of its Spotlight Theatre Group.
She studied musical theatre at Westwood College then completed a three-year degree in music and performing at Leeds College of Music, along the way opening for Leona Lewis and Katherine Jenkins at the Open Air Theatre.
“Westwood was incredible – very much like Fame, with all the performing artists in one building,” said Robyn. At Leeds College of Music, highlights included singing in a group that won BBC One’s Pitch Battle; at the same time she developed a passion for community music, running workshops for a variety of people.
“Singing does so much for so many,” she said “The sense of community and the beauty of sound really brings people together.”
Robyn’s ethos of music for everyone chimes with that of the Staxton Singers whose aim is to bring music and fun to people and communities. Its members, who rehearse on Monday evenings in Scarborough are from all walks of life, from twentysomethings to mid-eighties.
The group has performed at the Royal Albert Hall and abroad, as well as raising thousands for charity. Founded 37 years ago by Sue Hartley, who runs Scarborough Academy of Music, it was most recently directed by Andrew Jenkins, who with his wife runs Orchard Lodge guesthouse in Flixton.
“Andrew really brought us up to scratch before Covid hit, but then he had to leave due to pressure at work,” said the choir’s vice-chairman Mary Grunwell. “We are delighted now to have Robyn, who has brought a breath of fresh air with her youth and enthusiasm.”
Although the singers still have one founder member from 1985, the soprano Janet McNay, Mary adds that not all members returned to singing after lockdown and the choir is keen to welcome new voices.
“We would especially like more tenors and basses,” she said.
David Hodges, the choir’s chairman and a bass singer, said: “When I joined in 2017 I was relatively new to Scarborough and I was made to feel very welcome.
"It was a great way to make new friends – I found I had things in common with the other bass singers, and have also got to know people in other sections.”
Tentative warblers can always hone their sound by taking coaching from Robyn.
As well as leading several choirs, teaching music at Beverley Grammar School and running workshops for the likes of the Disablement Action Group, she also gives one-to-one singing lessons.
Concert dates are as follows:
Friday December 2, 7.30pm: Willerby Church, Staxton
Sunday December 11, 3pm, St Mark’s Church, Coldyhill Lane, ScarboroughWednesday December 14, 7pm, Wykeham Church – Rotary Club of Scarborough Cavaliers carol serviceSunday December 18, 12.30pm, North Street Car Park Ice Rink, Scarborough
The Staxton Singers meet on Mondays from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at St Mark's Church Hall, at the junction of Green Lane and Coldyhill Lane, Scarborough.
To ask about joining, email [email protected]
The singers website is: staxtonsingers.com