Leader of new Tuneless Choir in Derbyshire invites people to ‘sing like no-one is listening’

A music teacher is launching a new choir in Derbyshire for those who would love to sing with others but feel they can’t carry a tune.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 5:30 am
Matt McKenzie with members of Matlock Tuneless Choir (photo: Lianne Foye/www.foyetography.co.uk)

Matt McKenzie will be holding the first session of Derby Tuneless Choir on Monday, November 1, from 7.15pm to 9.15pm, in the city’s Maypole Café Bar and Theatre on Brook Street. He believes the city will relish the opportunity fo “sing like no-one is listening.”

Peripatetic teacher Matt, who has taught music throughout the county, said: “Singing is great for the body and soul, and magic for good mental health. There are plenty of opportunities for people who can really sing out there. A Tuneless Choir opens the doors for everyone else, regardless of ability or confidence.”

He first became aware of Tuneless Choirs from his mother-in-law, who joined one in Chesterfield. “She told me how uplifting the whole experience was. Every week she would leave the choir at the end of the evening feeling energised and extremely happy.”

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Having experienced a session Matt decided to start one in Matlock where he grew up. That has proved to be a brilliant experience, as he says: “We have an awful lot of fun!”

At Tuneless Choirs there are no auditions, no parts, and no attempts to teach people how to sing better. The choirs simply wail their way through well-known songs – Matt has ‘Valerie’ and ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ lined up for the Derby launch, along with a dozen others.

Most of the choirs only use backing tracks to sing to, with lyrics provided in case people have been singing the wrong words for years. Matt, however, plays in a wedding rock band at weekends so often takes his guitar to Tuneless to give his singers a live music accompaniment. The choir, meanwhile, have kazoos to screech through any instrumentals.

The Tuneless movement started in 2016 in Nottingham. Matt says “There is already talk of a Sing-Off between the Derby and Nottingham choirs. I’m hoping we fare better than The Rams.

“I want people to come and join me in belting out loads of fantastic tunes, with no judgement, no pressure, but with tonnes of joy and laughter.”