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AcaBella – can’t stop the music

Julia Davenport-Brown

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AcaBellaStockport ladiesHigh Land WIDisleySoundingOutUK

AcaBella are a harmonious quartet of talented Stockport ladies who burst on to the local music scene with their first professional performance at the inaugural meeting of the High Lane WI. 

Sue, Chris, Mariella and Elaine are no strangers to singing, having cut their teeth in various local choirs, but as Sue says they wanted more and they wanted to develop their own style. 

‘I love harmony singing’ explains Sue, who started the group. ‘Mariella, Elaine and I all met in a female, four-part harmony chorus and we knew our voices would work really well together. Chris was my singing teacher and a very experienced musical director. So I felt sure that together the four of us could produce lovely music that would be fun to sing and fun to listen to.’

AcaBella were formed in October and meet once a fortnight to practice.

‘We decided as a group that we didn’t want to compete, as that’s too restrictive, but we did want to perform. We love performing!’

Self- confessed drama queen, Mariella, who lives in Disley says she loves to dress up and try out new songs and new arrangements.

‘We are currently working on a beautiful arrangement of Smile that Chris found for us. It’s challenging, but when we’ve perfected it, it will be a rich, lush sound. Our style of singing means there is one voice to each part and the close harmony it 

produces is a joy to hear.’

All four women came to singing through different routes and for a wide variety of reasons, but they are united in the belief that singing is therapeutic. 

‘Singing takes you to another place’ says Sue. ‘It’s light, fun and enjoyable. You simply forget your troubles.’

A view echoed by Mariella, who found the support of fellow choir members a lifesaver when she was dealing with bereavement and serious illness.

In fact, Sue and Chris so firmly believe in the power of song and the health benefits of singing that they formed “SoundingOutUK” to bring creative musical projects to local communities. They currently have two choirs that are open to all regardless of musical experience. Both choirs meet in the Stockport area, one on a Thursday morning, the other on Thursday evening, to sing an eclectic mix of African, pop, gospel, spirituals, folk and world music.

‘I believe singing is a great anti-depressant’ says Chris. ‘Everyone can sing – even if they were told differently as children. At SoundingOut, Sue and I have deliberately set out to create a safe space to find your voice and develop new friendships. New members are always welcome.’

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