Rich and I have worked together before. He plays guitar (brilliantly) and we’ve spent time singing for fun either as a pair or with others. It’s a great opportunity to really let go and have some time to sing for myself which I don’t do very often. It was Rich who said ‘I bet you can play this on bass’ when we first attempted Just Like Heaven (The Cure – my favourites) and re-ignited my love for bass guitar.

We’ve both had projects win the go with other people, choirs, bands etc but then, we had a good idea. Years ago, I used to run what I called ‘pop up choirs’ – commitment free singing for people who liked singing together but didn’t have the time or capacity to join a full choir. It worked well – I have a venue in Nottingham for a while and then when I realised it was people from West Bridgford coming along, I got a venue in West Bridgford instead!

So we all know that the pandemic shoved a spectacular spanner in the works and that it’s taken time too emerge from it…… time for us to try something new.

Our West Bridgford Liberty Singers often sing at Portello Lounge – a local bar which has enough space for 80+ singers. But what if Rich and I could create something else, something a little bit like the pop up choir but incorporating the thrill of live music (can’t beat it in my opinion!) And so, Kari-oke featuring Rich was born!

We wanted four songs which everyone would probably already know, which we could play together and harmonise easily. The format is simple – sing the four songs, choose a start song, learn the harmonies here and there (nothing too tricky – it’s supposed to be easy fun!) And then another song. Bar break (whatever that may look like for people) and then the other two songs to learn. We would then have 4 songs ready to perform to ourselves. And we did!

The first evening saw us take on We built this City, 500 Miles, Half the World Away and Perfect (Fairground Attraction version). It was marvellous! Who came along? We had 12 singers and around half of them were from either East Leake or the West Bridgford choirs. Some were ex-singers and a couple of people brought friends along. Rich and I had a great time both rehearsing and performing) so it was an all round win. We decided to do it again!

We made modifications to the project. We shuffled the price down slightly, we created a series of pop art social media posts, we chose 4 new songs and recruited Catherine to play keyboard for us. It started as just one song, but we soon roped her into all 4! This time we went for Just the Way You Are, Disco 2000, Good Enough and Don’t Look Back In Anger.

Again, similar demographic of people. About half had been to the first one and returned, and the others came from choir and brought friends along. Another great night with 14 lovely voices. Sometimes, people at the bar joined in. Feedback from across the pub was good and the energy in the room was quite lovely.

So, now what!? We all know that December is the silly season for choirs and bands so Rich and I are taking a break until January, plotting to include a drummer with our keyboard and already thinking up lovely new songs for you all! Keep an eye out for dates in the new year.