What the Fitmums Choir did for us…..
Gina (Cottingham Fitmums runner) says:
Just to say a huge thank you for such a briliant experience singing with 'The Choir!' I haven't sung for years and it was such a lovely experience singing with Fitmums and Friends and the Fitmums Juniors. Just as in running it was such a warm, supportive group and everyone pulled together for the performance. Ruthie, thank you for being so brilliant the whole time and doing such an amazing job with us. And thank you Sam for having the idea and driving it along all the way, plus of course everyone for singing, organising and making it possible. Have made some new friends so that's great too, so singing and running - well they obviously go hand in hand! Have had withdrawal symptoms already so roll on the next one, I hope we do it again, please!
Hannah (Beverley Fitmums - Run Leader) says:
The choir has been a truly amazing and inspiring journey over the last 11 weeks. Seeing Mike attend pre and post op has been truly remarkable. I have often looked at him in total amazement. He has carried on singing regardless, of what life has thrown at him.
I have met some wonderful new friends, put faces to names and had so many laughs along the way. For me it has been an opportunity to unite Fitmum groups together and feel part of one big community, working to achieve a collective goal. Singing is a truly uplifting experience and Monday morning blues on a Sunday evening, have truly been banished.
Ruthie has been an absolutely amazing teacher. I have learnt so much about singing and have heard myself replicating her words of wisdom in my own classroom. 'My children will no longer sound flat. She has turned a group of people into a 'Choir'.
The whole Fitmums Choir for me replicates what Fitmums is about. Inspiring people to try something new, develop new skills, make friends, achieve an end goal with the added extra of raising money for wonderful concerns.
I feel so proud to have been part of this amazing experience and don't want it to end.
Emily (East Hull Fitmum) says:
Felt quite emotional on Sunday at rehearsal, cant believe that this Sunday is our one before the concert, where has the time gone!
Just wanted to say a big thanks to you both (Ruthie and Sam) for all of the time and effort you’ve put into the choir, have thoroughly enjoyed it, every single minute of it, and don’t want it to end (but know that all good things must at some point).
I know I won’t be the only one saying this, but choir has fallen at a perfect time and has helped me through a difficult time of late and has provided and still provides something to look forward too on a Sunday.
I could really feel and tell how it all came together on Sunday and felt like we were all singing as part of a choir, rather than as individuals.
Gemma (Cottingham Fitmums - Walker) says:
Thank you so much to everyone who has made the choir happen particularly Ruth for laying her reputation on the line to take on us novices!
Joining the fitmums choir has been a personal challenge, not knowing many fit mums members and being a fitmums walker not a runner oh and agreeing to stand on a stage and sing in public! I have enjoyed myself enormously and made some good friends - what a lovely group of people fit mums and friends are. I have even somehow mustered the confidence to run (ish) and thoroughly enjoyed the sport relief mile with the family. Watch out 1 mile runners group I’m on my way!
And daughter Abigail (FMJ age 6 yrs) says:
It’s the best sing I hav ever had.
One of our members says:
“I've suddenly realised that through Fitmums I have managed to surround myself with really positive people who are so supportive. I'm 41 soon and can honestly say in all my years I have never felt that way. I love running with Fitmums and would never have taken on the running challenge I am currently doing without their support. And….I can sing. I CAN sing. I have so much confidence I even start to sing in my office. I'm not a "woe is me" person but I've never been given support or encouragement in my life. I really feel I am part of something lovely. Thank you for setting up Fitmums, I really love it”.
Judi (Cottingham & Beverley Fitmums - Run Leader) says:
“I'd just like to say that being part of the choir has been fantastic, and I've loved every minute of it! I have one of those voices (loud and tune-less!) that makes people stare when I sing (not in a good way, either lol) so to be able to sing as part of a group means I can at last experience the joy of singing without feeling self-conscious, and I thank you so much for that! This has been a brilliant "crazy" idea of Sam’s, but a very enjoyable and rewarding one! Just hope it goes ok on Saturday - I'm a little scared, to say the least!”.
Sara (Cottingham Fitmums - Runner) says:
“I just want to say how much I have thoroughly enjoyed the choir rehearsals on a Sunday afternoon and the build up to the concert on Saturday. I have gone from not been able to sing, to joining the sopranos (and thankfully their wonderful voices drown out my wailing) to singing with two other ladies on a couple of the lines of a song. So, quite an accomplishment for me, but just goes to show the confidence this has given me…. Just hoping I’ll still be as brave on the night!
It has been challenging at times, but the friendliness of the group and the laughs we have all had, have made this so enjoyable and I have made some lovely new friends and will really miss our choir rehearsals on a Sunday afternoon, but hopefully we may get asked to sing at some future events, which will be a perfect excuse for us all to meet up again”.
Yvonne (Cottingham Fitmums - Runner) says:
“I'd just like to say I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in the choir. I love singing and being part of the choir has allowed me to do this (although not very well ha ha). I would love it if the choir could continue permanently. Thanks to everybody who made this happen and to Ruth who has been a 'star'”.
Caroline (Cottingham Fitmums - Runner) says:
“I just wanted to say i have thoroughly enjoyed the choir over the last few months, it has been so much fun with lots of laughs and all for a good cause. Never did i think i would be a member of a choir! It has also been nice meeting other fitmums. Thank you and thanks to Ruth for teaching us a few things about singing – breathing, smiling and raising our eyebrows! And giving us the confidence to perform to an audience”.
Lindi (Assistant Coach) says:
“I have enjoyed it miles more than I thought I would, I used to sing in the school choir but haven't sung since. I'd forgotten how much I love having music in my life. We sound amazing and I can't believe that it's us, we're just a bunch of runners but it turns out we can sing too!”.
Connie (FMJ aged 9yrs says):
“A bit boring for the kids when we're waiting to sing but it sounds amazing!”.
Sam (Assistant Coach) says:
“There is something special about hearing voices singing in unison and making some sort of lovely sound…to me it’s like the sound of lots of feet pounding the road as we run together on our Fitmums run. I love that. And I’ve loved the Choir. It has given me moments of peace through some tough times and I think of all my crazy ideas this might be up there with the best!”.
George (FMJ age 7 yrs) says:
“Choir has been good because you get to sing lots and all the family go. I didn’t even know my Mummy and Daddy could sing”.
Anna (FMJ age 8 yrs) says;
“Mrs Richards has taught as all really well. My singing has got better and I really like singing with my friends”.
Andrew (Assistant Coach) says:
“If someone had said last year that I would be a member of a successful running choir group I would of suggested they get their medications changed! Singing was not my thing but I have loved being part of this”.
Sarah (Cottingham Fitmums - Runner) says:
“We’ve all really enjoyed our Sunday evening rehearsals both for the singing and socialising. It’s been great as a family and we all burst into spontaneous singing at random times although the children have banned me from doing this in the playground now”.
Another member says:
I just thought you'd like to know how much being part of the Fitmums choir has benefitted my daughter - and me!
My daughter is often difficult to involve and is very slow to warm up with new activities, finding it difficult to do anything new or anything that involves being "on show". I've been delighted to see her confidence grow as she has sung with everybody else on Sunday evenings - and that she has taken her words into school several times to sing (solo) for her class!
Group singing seems be so engaging and fulfilling for her; it's rare for us to find something that she gets totally swept up in, losing her inhibitions a bit and just going with the sheer joy of it. I know she's not going to sit with the other fmj's or join in the actions, but she has learnt every word, and rehearsed every melody independently and confidently. She has been given such a boost by being able to be part of this little bit of the Fitmums community, nurtured by the warmth and generosity of all the other singers.
It's also underlined the importance of helping children put down strong roots within their communities. Some of my PhD research looked at the diminishing ways that there are for children to express their sense/understanding of being in a community, and explored how important it is for children's development to grow up feeling strongly embedded in community structures. It's clear to me from the confidence and willingness of all the FMJs that the benefits of being part of the Fitmums family give them exactly this kind of community feeling - it's maybe a rather tangential benefit, but one that is hugely valuable.
As for me, when I moved to Beverley 13 years ago (!) I intended to join a choir... I never quite got round to it until now. I was in choirs all the way through school, university and early working life, often travelling back home to bump up the numbers in my Mum's choir when needed. But with the move up here and the arrival of two children I haven't made time to get back into singing - and I'd forgotten how much I love it. It's been such a long time that it's almost a surprise that it is such fun, and so cathartic - although not quite as surprising as finding out that I actually like running.
We're both very thankful that we've been able to join in with this bit of the Fitmums madness, and we will both be sad (and proud) when it's all over.
Fitmums is an excellent initiative that brings together women to share in the double joys of running and motherhood and support each other while making friendships for life.