Members' stories

As well as working hard to develop our vocal technique and to be the best choir we can be, Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir is a warm and welcoming group in which fun and friendship are always a priority. This page features stories written by some of our members, other halves and valued fans, who all have something to say about life with DDLC!

Why join a choir?

Many people have experienced the elation and enjoyment of singing in a choir, it brings so many benefits on so many levels. Choir singing is the ultimate team event, everyone literally has a voice and contributes to the overall sound and performance. It is a social activity that brings people from all walks of life together, it provides regular contact with a familiar group and the challenge of concerts and competitions.

There is now evidence that choir singing has measurable health benefits. It lifts the mood and aids recovery from depression, it improves posture and breathing and can help those with a chronic respiratory condition, and it invigorates blood flow to the brain and vital organs.

My personal experience of choir singing has been quite extraordinary, I joined 10 years ago having never sung in a choir before. I could just about read music but had not looked at a manuscript since I was 10 years old. My only qualification was that I could sing in tune. When I first joined in 2005, I didn't know anything about choral singing and I found it very emotional, music moved and continues to move me to tears at times. Within 1 year I was singing on the front row of the Royal Albert Hall, along with approximately 800 singers from around the country at the triennial Cancer Research Festival of Music, an evening that I will never forget. As a choir we have gone from strength to strength since our musical director Sarah Ogden joined us, we learn all the time and our technical knowledge of the craft of singing continues to grow. I feel very proud of the small part I play in our accomplishments.


Fiona’s story :

I love singing, I could always be found in the house singing at the top of my voice. As a teenager I sang in the Crieff High school choir, entering the Perth music festival annually, often winning.

Roll on almost 40 years

My future daughter in law, Prue attended a business meeting and met a lady Julia, who sang with Denby Dale ladies choir. The choir met every Thursday at the Methodist church and were keen to welcome new members. She knew this would be a hobby that I would love.

I was interested in joining but finding the courage to take my first step through the doors did not come easy.

Fast forward eighteen months and many nags from Prue, she had spoken to Julia who had suggested joining in January as the choir would be learning new pieces of music. Decision made, I told Prue to tell Julia I would be there.

It wasn't the best start to the evening as I got lost on the way to Denby Dale, but eventually I was there. Julia introduced me to Sarah Ogden, musical director, who asked where I felt my voice range fell, I felt it was in the middle.

Sarah introduced me to Gill and Nicky who were both middles and I sat between them. They were so friendly, putting me at ease. The rehearsal started with a warm up, new to me, but so good and easy to follow. I cannot read music, but this was not an issue. Gill and Nicky helped and encouraged me throughout the practice.

We were learning four new songs for an upcoming competition. The two hour practice flew by and I felt so included by the ladies. Gill mentioned they had an additional practice on the Saturday and I went along, I was already accepted into the middles.

Coming up to the competition date, the Chair person Liz, made sure I had my uniform. We entered two sections in the competition and won one. What a day, we returned in the evening to the winners competition.

I have now been in the choir eight years, we have been to Scarborough for a workshop, Whitby and Llandudno to enter competitions. Not only singing but socialising, eating out, quizzes, playing bingo.

The choir has been part of the Cancer research UK concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London for many years, to sing in such a prestigious venue was an unforgettable experience.

Denby Dale Ladies Choir has changed my life, I had so little confidence and self esteem the day I walked through the door for the first time. Now I cannot wait for our Thursday rehearsals. Weekends away, learning new pieces, having made so many friends.


Zoom meeting Guest Stories :

Thank you! I have enjoyed the meetings each Thursday …I have found Caroline to be an excellent musical director and her enthusiasm is boundless. She is really skilled and offers so much encouragement, perhaps you could pass on my comments to her. I wish you and the whole choir all the very best for the future – and I will endeavour to attend your concerts when you are ‘back to normal’.


It has been lovely to be amongst you on Thursday evenings, keeping the voice (what's left of it) in trim, learning new music, along with all the camaraderie. I think you have made a very good choice in Caroline, she certainly knows her 'stuff' and along with Sue, you have a very fine team to take the choir into the future.Thank you for your good wishes and I wish you all at Denby Ladies a very happy Christmas and we must look forward to better things in 2021.


Lucy’s story

On joining Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir I was made to feel very welcome and was impressed by how motivated and enthusiastic everyone was. Concerts are always exhilarating, the most memorable for me being the 50th anniversary concert in Huddersfield Town Hall. I had to work hard learning the words but it really paid off to be part of such a thrilling event.

We have a brilliant musical director in Caroline - she brings out the best in all of us with her infectious enthusiasm and sense of humour. My singing technique has definitely improved during my time in the choir (although I will never be a soloist!). Our weekend in Scarborough in February 2020 was a chance to get to know each other better and get to grips with some new music - with a helping of fun and games thrown in.

During the coronavirus pandemic Caroline has put in a huge amount of time and effort to make our Zoom rehearsals productive and enjoyable, making Thursday night rehearsals more important than ever to our physical and mental wellbeing. I feel very lucky to be part of such a friendly and supportive choir.


Linda’s story

I joined Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir in 2011 and have never looked back. It is a terrific workout, available to everyone regardless of age and is brilliant therapy. I get rid of an unbelievable amount of stuff on Thursday evenings – I just sing it out! We are so well supported by Sarah and Sue - I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Sylvia’s story

I was a member of Denby Dale Ladies' Choir many years ago and rejoined after my husband had passed away. It was the best thing I did as I have made many friends who have been very supportive. I love singing and learning from our very talented musical director, Sarah. Being a member of the choir has given me a purpose as I enjoy the camaraderie of the concerts and competitions along with the social events.


Annette's story

I joined Denby Dale Ladies’ Choir in January 2017. I was persuaded to join by my sister who also sings in the choir. I was a member many years ago when the choir was in its infancy but had to give up due to family commitments. Finding time on my hands I decided to give it another go and now I look forward so much to Thursday evening rehearsals, giving my voice a good workout.

I enjoy singing at concerts and festivals. This year I sang at my first competition and was surprised to find that I had overcome the nerves, finding a new confidence in something I really love. Being a member of the choir is very rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone who is musical and has an interest in singing. The ladies are very friendly and I really enjoy the social occasions.


Sharon’s story

After much thought about wanting to join a choir in September 2012 I finally took the plunge and walked into my first rehearsal with Denby Dale Ladies choir. I have always been musical and played the organ from the age of 10 and still play for my own enjoyment today.

I was given a warm welcome by the entire choir and soon got into the swing of things and learnt how to listen to other voices and tones. The hardest part for me was learning the words to each song as we went along (no one told me we had to sing without music!! a challenge in itself). But with determination and dedication I am glad to say I love every minute of it. The practice sessions, workshops, concerts and competitions, it is one of the best things I have done in my life.

They say that singing is one of the best forms of stress relief and I can honestly say for me it works wonders. It is a very rewarding hobby for me and I would encourage anyone who is thinking about joining or would like to give it a try to come along and find out for themselves.


Maria’s Story

I joined the choir in September 2019 and never having been in a choir since my school days, I was a little nervous about going to the rehearsal for a ‘taster session’. I sat and mostly just listened to the beautiful sound of the choir singing and was hooked straight away. Denby Dale Ladies Choir is a wonderful organisation, full of enthusiastic singers, friendly faces, and has an excellent Musical Director in Caroline. Attending a session, whether it is on Zoom or in person is guaranteed to lift your spirits. There is a mixture of voices and experience, and everyone is given a warm welcome. It is one of the best decisions I made to join up!

Jill’s story

I joined DDLC four years ago after moving into the area. I received a really warm welcome from choir members and have made some very good friends.

During practices we develop techniques to improve our own singing as well as learning new songs and fine-tuning familiar ones. We work hard but we enjoy the fruits of our labours in our performances at concerts and in our successes at competitions.

We have a wide musical repertoire and perform to a variety of audiences. The highlight of my time in the choir (so far!) must be singing in the Festival of Brass and Voices at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2009 for Cancer Research UK. It was a real pleasure and privilege to have the opportunity to take part in such a big event.


Terry’s story: one of our faithful fans tells all!

I have been a fan of Denby Dale Ladies Choir for six years now, and have always enjoyed their cheerful approach. I am proud that my wife is part of a choir that seems to inspire such a friendly rapport between all of the members. The arrival of Sarah Ogden as Musical Director has given the choir new confidence as well as a fabulous sound. Their concerts always bring great pleasure and I would encourage any music lover to go along and listen.

Another perspective: Jill’s husband has his say…

It’s Thursday night and I have the place to myself. My wife goes out to ‘The Choir’. I notice she never calls it ‘Practice’. It’s obviously a social occasion as well. Does anything good come from it? Well, being in the audience listening to their Spring Concert the other Saturday night, the answer is a definite “Yes!” It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with a smiling, prize-winning, ladies choir. Add to this an energetic conductor, an accomplished pianist (Michael, you deserve a medal with all those women), top quality soloists and you have everything you need for a good evening out. Let me recommend them to you!