Our Stars Baby Loss Choir
Our Stars Baby Loss Choir…. reaching for the stars
In November 2020, we started ‘Our Stars Baby Loss Choir.’ This is an online choir for parents affected by baby loss. The aim of the choir was to bring parents together to do something fun, reduce isolation, and also allow people to boost their confidence through new and fun challenges with music; that is certainly working! The first couple of months under Angharad Edwards provided a great start, and we are incredibly grateful for the time she gave us with her professional prowess.
Our Stars Baby Loss Choir is a popular music choir and our members come along because they just love singing. Music is such a great escape from the world and everything that might be going on in life. We have a lot of fun and laughter, and create friendships with amazing people, who understand the journey we have all been on, even if we don’t talk about it.
We have so far kept the choir small, to make sure that we are achieving what we want to, but due to recent changes, we are now taking our next exciting steps and grow…
Steve Taylor – Our Choir Director
Steve Taylor joined Our Stars Baby Loss Choir in March 2021 as Voluntary Choir Director. Steve’s happy enthusiasm, encouragement and support to choir members, and passion for a wide range of popular music, has made Wednesday evenings a lot of fun.
Whilst working as a Systems and Data Services Manager for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service during the day, Steve goes on to direct our choir, along with 3 other choirs in the evenings. Steve has been a musician for 30 years, and in the past 5 years has moved into arranging and directing for choirs. He voluntarily directs the Colchester Peoples’ Choir, the Essex Fire Choir, and a vocal harmony group called Empowered. On joining us as our Choir Director, Steve said “It is an absolute pleasure to be able to do something for this incredibly important cause, and to try to help others see the joy that music can bring, and how it can help healing. The people I get to work with in this choir are all amazing, strong humans, who fight every day, and I’m honoured to be able to sing with them and share my passion for music “.
Founding Members and Befrienders of Our Stars Baby Loss Choir
Sarah, Lydia and Holly are original members of Our Stars Choir and founding members for the choir going forward. They also now volunteer as befrienders for new choir members. Anyone interested in joining the choir will be put in contact with them to ask any questions they might have, or maybe gain confidence through them to take that final step to joining.
I am Sarah. I was born in Wolverhampton and now live in Warwickshire. I started trying for a family in 2011, but had a miscarriage at 10 weeks in September 2011 and a chemical pregnancy in May 2013. In between these early pregnancy losses, my second pregnancy resulted in the stillbirth of my son, Finlay, in February 2013 due to complications from sudden onset severe pre-eclampsia. I have since had two successful pregnancies. As a result of my losses, I volunteer my spare time for a couple of baby loss charities to help support others affected by baby loss.
I absolutely love being able to sing with Our Sam’s virtual choir, and I am so proud of myself for taking the step to join. I feel so comfortable singing online with those who have similar experiences of baby loss; everyone is friendly and encouraging, and my singing confidence has been boosted immeasurably!
I’m Lydia, Mum to two boys and one angel baby who we lost to miscarriage in 2011. I live in Chester and work in Public Health. I am keen to do what I can to break the taboo of baby loss and miscarriage and see the choir (and the Our Sam charity) as a way of doing this (and I love to sing!). For me being part of the choir is about being with those with a shared experience and I love that we are geographically split across the country, but Our Stars brings us together.
I’m Holly, Mum to 3 boys and a little girl in the clouds, Jasmine who passed away at 5 days old back in 2015. I work as a Head of Reward for a local Housing Association, was born in Bath and now live in Swindon.
I came across the charity, Our Sam, on Twitter, and liked the idea of joining a virtual choir to express myself through my love of singing and being amongst like-minded people.
I was born in Lancashire, but most of my life has been spent in beautiful North Wales. I am the Founder and now a Trustee for Our Sam Charity, named after our daughter, who was stillborn in 2012. I found when going through losing Sam, and her four siblings, music gave me headspace to escape from the pain, for a short time. When writing the business plan for Our Sam, I really wanted to include music into our activities, and I am absolutely delighted that it has happened through Our Stars Choir. I am even more delighted that I have now plucked up the courage to join as a member, spend time with some incredible people, and learn that actually I’m not completely tone deaf!
Losing all my babies, and never achieving my ultimate dream of becoming a Mum pretty much took all my self-confidence and self-belief, and left me feeling like I didn’t have a place in the world, and this is something I frequently hear from other parents going through baby loss. As a member of Our Stars Choir, over the last couple of months, I have fought through the tears of fear of recording my own singing, and a lack of belief in terms of having any musical ability, to feeling a genuine sense of achievement and pride, and I have definitely gained confidence in myself. I set this up to enable other parents to achieve, and I am seeing that through other members, but through my own achievements with the choir, I know first-hand that this is a brilliant way to learn to live again, and feel a part of the world. On Wednesday evenings we smile, laugh and sing together, and it’s a great place to be.
What do we do?
We use Zoom as an online platform for our choir. This enables us to take away geographical barriers so anyone from mainland UK can join us. We meet weekly on a Wednesday evening at 7.30 for an hour, where our Steve goes through the music and songs we are learning, and we sing along on mute trying not to disturb the neighbours. With Steve’s amazing technology and gadgets, we can then spend the week practising and recording our own parts before sending them to Steve who compiles all our recordings and we then get to hear ourselves as a whole choir. We know we aren’t perfect but that doesn’t matter! Steve is always on hand for us individually if we are struggling with the song or confidence, and there is absolutely no need to be able to read music.
As a choir we choose the songs we want to sing, from Eurythmics to The Beatles, and the whole world of music in-between and beyond, which is great. The sense of achievement when Steve puts all our recordings together and we hear what we have done is fantastic.
What are our plans?
Whilst we are an online choir, our plans are to meet up a few times a year as a group for performances and other special events. Our first meet up will be in a couple of months’ time, at a recording studio, to record a very special song, and then in October, we hope to meet up again for an Our Sam event.
There are no fees for members, but we fundraise as a group to pay for our members to be able to attend our get-togethers and performances. We are also hoping to launch a calendar for next year.
We have a goal of achieving 25 members over the next few months.
Interested in joining us?
We are keen to recruit new members for our special recording and performance in October, but most of all to join us to sing and be a part the fun we are having.
If you would like to join our amazing group that is Our Stars Choir, Steve’s advice is, perhaps surprisingly “You don’t need to be able to sing to join this choir, you just need to enjoy doing it”.
So, if you are a bereaved parent who loves singing and would like to come and have fun with us, all you have to do is contact us through the Our Sam Contact Page and we will put you in touch with one of our befrienders who will be able to give you all the information you need.