Where’s the Cake?


World songs in a capella harmony



 A Community Choir in Martlesham Heath
















Clive Barker


Is the person irresponsible for the Madness, Mayhem and General Mischief in this small group of singers and friends. Guaranteed to be torture – walk through the door to the smell of freshly cooked cake and know that you can’t have any until you have sung for an hour!


I’m not one for blowing my own trumpet, preferring to be quietly working in the background which doesn’t sit too well with being a choir leader! Most people would be surprised to know that my natural inclination is introvert.  I  built these websites  and  I hadn’t even mentioned myself!


I have been in this singing lark for too many years to clearly remember. Picked up a guitar when I was 18 and taught myself to play. Spent about 10 years going round the folk scene as singer songwriter guitarist performing anywhere from Cornwall to Hebrides, France, and Germany


Not sure why but I started singing with Yoxvox up at Yoxford then joined Shared Voices shortly after it started about 17 years ago. I became involved with running it as part of a ‘committee’ of 5 friends, doing more and more because I had the time and I was travelling the country joining in singing workshops and discovering new teachers to bring to SV. Over the years these have including Black Voices, Gitika Partington, Kirsty Martin, Dessi Stephanova, Sarah Morgan, Nick Prater, Stephen Taberner and the Spooky Men, Northern Harmony, Helen Chadwick, Rowena Whitehead, Black Umfolosi, Chris Rowbury, Anne Barrett, Stephanie Anderson and various others.  As members of the Committee dropped out over time I have become the sole person running Shared Voices. A few years back we had two very successful weeks in France in a collection  of gites in Normandy and more recently I ran a week in Picardy, self catering in one large gite


Years ago I started having summer singing garden parties, much enjoyed by up to 40 singers and started some gatherings of singers at my home, and I joined the Natural Voice Practitioners Network and seem to have become quite well known – or is that notorious? 


In autumn 2011 I started on a more formal basis with choirs at Felixstowe, Butley and here. The Butley choir, Oyster Voices named after the local oysters, moved to Orford. Since then I have led a couple of sessions with Shared Voices in early September when numbers are low, was a guest teacher at SingWiv in sept 2013 which was great fun and have been asked to cover for Angela Dennis in November on two dates in Colchester and East Mersea


Back in 2003 when Sian Croose was teaching Shared Voices we learnt the songs and joined in Sing for Water in its second year. This is a massed choir that performs in the Thames Festival and raises money for WaterAid. So off we went in our all whites and discovered a similar group at Manningtree station. They were from Singing for fun, a choir at Stutton who were also participating. They met about 3 miles from Shared Voices and we had never heard of them.  Many of us joined up and doubled their numbers and we had a great time with Ian Heywood for a number of years

I continued with Sing for Water and started recording the performance, initially for my own use but somehow I got promoted to officially recording the events and providing a master CD for sales by WaterAid.  I am now considered to be one of the team, rather nice but I don’t really do that much


I have travelled to various singing events, from Whitby folk week with Sarah Morgan  to Sing your socks off in Austria with Dee Jarlett et al. When I was in Australia and up in the Blue Mountains as I was hosted by a Spooky Man and they had a party for me, great fun, great guys. I lose track but I guess I have sung with over 50 different teachers, some really brilliant and some a bit mediocre and must have learnt over 1000 different songs. I have more recordings than I know what to do with but am slowing cataloguing them and stealing all the best songs to share with my singers

So that is what I do now, share my songs with willing victims. I also enjoy arranging songs and composing new ones. For example I have written  a couple of Gospel songs which I am working on


It seems to me that when leading choirs one can either spend a lot of time learning songs or a lot of time singing. I like singing and usually get stuck in rather than standing at the front waving my arms about, often standing with the blokes. A good evening is 6-9 songs, most of which they know  already, and we always finish with easy songs or shanties or something well known we can sing in unison. Quite simply – I don’t need an income from singing and if it isn’t fun I don’t want to be doing it!


If that appeals, come and sing with us