Join Arthur for the Chichester Singing Day

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Organisers of the Chichester Singing Day are hoping for a strong turn-out of singers for its 30th anniversary this summer.

Arthur Robson, director of choral studies at the University of Chichester, will once again be in charge, supported by his wife Polly who is organising the day. The singing day itself will be on Saturday, June 29, but Arthur and Polly are asking anyone keen to take part to register with Polly via pollyrobson2003@yahoo.co.uk by June 22.

Arthur Robson

Arthur Robson

The event is part of the new Festival of Chichester; application forms are also available from the Festival of Chichester box office, Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).

“The format is that the singers come on the day,” Arthur explains. “They start with sectional rehearsals in the morning, and we put it together in the afternoon. Then they have a break, and we perform in the evening.”

The concert runs from 7.30-9.30pm in the chapel at the University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, for which they will be joined by soloists Catherine Hamilton (soprano) and Tom Robson (tenor).

“Anybody that is interested in singing can join in, from beginners right through to experienced singers. We do have a huge mixture. It has always been popular, but now we have got what I call the Malone effect. More people want to sing. More people are feeling the benefits.

“Singing is about coming together and sharing. It appeals to the creative and imaginative sides of our minds, and there are all sorts of health benefits that go along with that. It relaxes the soul, I think. Mentally as well as physically, it is very good for you.

“People that sing are always happy. If you are walking along the street and hear somebody whistling a tune, it’s a good indication that they are feeling good about their life. And also, it helps with asthma. You relax, you breathe more deeply, you open your airways. We sit so much of our time at computers and the chest is closed. Singing opens you up.”

Polly is convinced Arthur is himself the major reason for the event’s ongoing success. In fact, the couple met through the Chichester Singing Days concept.

“We met at a dinner party a week before the first one, and he told me what he was doing,” Polly recalls. She went along, and nine months later they were married at Chichester Cathedral.

“The Singing Days work because of Arthur. He is warm. He is encouraging. He is not critical. He larks around but at the same time he takes it very seriously. It’s a very nice combination. The leader is the key. I know I am biased, but I am not the only person that says that. Arthur is very good at drawing people together.”

For this latest Singing Day, Arthur is drawing largely on popular opera choruses. Participants can expect to enjoy pieces including The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,