Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 21

PROPERTY life Find your voice and all that jazz Photo: Alison Eade Alison Eade Roz Whistance meets a woman on a mission to help us unleash the song within us all Blood-curdling screams emanate from a church hall – followed by the sound of raucous laughter. Alison Eade is holding a workshop for people trying to find their voices. “I believe everyone can sing. You’re born into this world being able to sing. Children of one, two, three, maybe up to six- or seven-years old sing. But after that something happens and people start to think and believe they can’t do it.” Alison is a vibrant, energetic lady with vivid red hair and a warm, intimate manner which puts her class at ease. She is not one to stand on dignity: those noises require silly faces to be pulled and one of her secret weapons to get her singers to locate their lower stomach muscles to gain a top note is the “constipated push” – which she doesn’t balk at demonstrating. I meet her following a rehearsal for one of two Christmas concerts to be performed by a choir which has formed out of the workshops she has held this year in Bembridge, Totland and Newport. “It was so cold we ended up doing All That Jazz” she says, and bursts into ‘I’m gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down!’ while performing the rolling action. “Even the men were doing it, really throwing themselves into it! She positively delights in such freedom from inhibition. Yet there is great wisdom behind her apparent frivolity. She draws a comparison between our culture and that of Africa, where she has spent time with some The Island's new funky radio station tribes. “Nobody sings flat, nobody sings sharp, they just sing. In church it’s not just the choir which sings in perfect harmony.” It is her purpose to find out what happens to us in the West, and why. Alison is from Cornwall, and her mother was from the Hebrides – so she has the music of the Celt oozing from every pore. “Mother used to sing all the time, lovely lilting Hebridean songs, whose lyrics and music haunted me.” School choir, chapel choir – music was inevitably part of her life, but it wasn’t until after her son was born that she sought singing