La La Choirs began in Lympstone in September 2008 and is run by Sam Abrahams. The first sessions consisted of Sam and just a few friends. Lympstone closed in 2015 but there are still four choirs with over 250 members on the books, who meet every week. The music is three or four part harmony, generally modern, pop, jazz, world, soul, motown, funk, rock, hip hop and very occasionally religious. Many are Sam’s own arrangements, others more ‘off the shelf’ – but all have that great combination of fun and familiarity with just a bit of a challenge.
The ethos of the choir is simple: if you like singing and enjoy having a laugh then this choir is for you. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or just when you can, you are always welcome. There are no joining fees and you only pay for the sessions you attend.
For those who want to get a bit more involved then public performances are taken seriously although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the amount of fun they have in preparing and performing. The complex harmonies appear effortless in their performance, it’s a pleasure not only to listen but also to watch as the members are clearly enjoying themselves just as much as the audience. They provide a great evening’s entertainment.
So if you are thinking about joining then ask yourself just two questions. Do you love to sing and do you like to have a good laugh? Whether you are second only to Adele or Barbara Streisand or keep your voice hidden behind the shower curtain or confined to the car you will fit right in at La La. There are no auditions but there is a requirement for a sense of humour.
Sam has had music in her life since a small child, playing various instruments, singing in choirs, bands, even becoming a semi-pro Jazz singer and recording an album which she still hasn’t released much to the disappointment of her friend, arranger and Double Bass player Paul Moylan. All of this was part time whilst she pursued a rather serious Senior Management career. La La Lympstone was her only weekly relief from what is now the universal stress of everyday working. In 2011 her true creative side regained control of her brain, and she threw it all up in the air to become a full time, self employed music director and started the Exmouth and Exeter choirs. In January 2012 following the success of Exmouth and Exeter, she started another choir in Ottery St Mary.
In November of 2011, she was asked by a friend to direct a surprise song thanking someone for bringing singing into her and her fellow military wives lives. It turned out to be Gareth Malone and was filmed and aired on Episode 3 of the series The Choir. This opened another musical door for Sam and having worked with the Chivenor ladies, she talked a couple of her friends who live locally and whose partners work at CTCRM Lympstone. Having explained how happy the girls were at Chivenor and how much they felt is had helped them get through the hard times, provided an outlet for their worry and given them a chance to share time with others whose lives are the same; they were keen to get together.
Long story short, Gareth contacted Sam about including Lympstone Milwives on the first album and having now performed with Russell Watson, Katherine Jenkins, in front of the Queen, selecting girls to perform at the Jubilee concert in London and record the ‘Sing’ EP, she has just completed directing both Chivenor and Lympstone choirs for album number 2.
Despite the love, pride and adoration she demonstrates for her choirs, Sam isn’t very good at talking about herself or taking compliments. We asked people from her choirs to tell us what they think of her and here are just a few of the responses we received.
‘…like Dawn French on acid, but thinner!’ ‘A beautiful teacher that takes a hand opens a mind and touches a heart.’ ‘I’d NEVER have sung a solo without her encouragement and no-pressure approach. I will always be thankful for that’. ‘An amazing lady who is a fantastic choir master, very professional and also super fun!’ ‘…I love La La – best medicine after a rubbish day at work. Sam believes in every member who joins’ ‘Tuesdays are the highlight of my week’ ‘A strong and vivacious woman with a passion for music and an appetite for life.’ And finally one she didn’t mind being put on here, ‘Bonkers!’.