Over the summer, as we are on break, I have asked members of our team to if they wanted to write a guest blog. This article is written by our member, Eva Chapman. Enjoy!
5 Things that Make Handy Voices Special
Everyone is accepted for who they are
At Handy Voices, everyone is welcome. disability, sexual orientation and even signing ability don’t matter because our wonderful leader, Christine, makes sure that everyone feels welcome and supported to join in.
I started Handy Voices with almost no sign language knowledge but through learning songs and doing bits of grammar and vocabulary in our weekly sessions, I now feel much more confident when I stand up and sign in front of an audience – so confident that I recently performed my first solo!
‘Perfect’ doesn’t matter
We work hard at what we do, but at no point does anyone expect you to get it all right. We mess up a lot, including in performances, and that’s okay because Handy Voices creates an environment where it’s not about how well you do, but whether you tried your best.
Music can be for everyone
Other choirs allow their members to get involved in the music they make depending on how good their singing voice is, how well they can read music and if they can hear. At Handy Voices, I have learnt that music really can be for everyone and you don’t need the ability to hear or sing to enjoy it. I love music in all its forms and, for me, re-creating songs visually in BSL has opened up a whole new way of experiencing music.
We care about the whole person
We always start our sessions by checking in with each other, so that we are up to date with what’s going on in each others’ lives. This makes Handy Voices one of the most special groups I have been involved in, because it is a place where I can go to share how I’m feeling and what’s been going on with me, whether it’s good or bad. We support each other through difficult times and celebrate with each other when things go well, which is so important to me.
We are a family
Once you join, you’re in for life. I joined Handy Voices when I had finished university and started working in Oxford. Lots of my university friends had moved away, I was working at a new company and living with people I didn’t know. I am so grateful to my Handy Voices friends for welcoming me with open arms, laughing with me every Monday and becoming my Oxford family!
Handy Voices Signing Choir meets on Monday nights from 7:15pm-9:00pm at the Oxford Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre in Oxford. All are welcome. More information can be found here.