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Higgs & Sons Christmas gift continues to hit the right note
Article date: 25/06/2015
With the Higgs & Sons choir on their way to Southwark Cathedral for tonight's Legal Harmony competition, we thought it was timely to reproduce a recent article on the choir which featured in The Lawyer magazine...
Given that it has its roots in two festive charity concerts, two years down the line one could paraphrase and say that the Higgs & Sons choir is now here for life and not just for Christmas.
The choir which boasts 18 members, first performed together in December 2013. Despite having to rehearse on the rear staircase of Higgs' HQ due to a lack of space, the choir repeated their successful Christmas performance the following year.
The make-up of Higgs & Sons' choir reflects the professional diversity of the firm if not the gender, with only two male singers in a group which boasts partners and legal secretaries amongst its members. The two tenors, four altos and 12 sopranos meet once a week to rehearse and currently benefit from working with experienced conductor, David Emerson who takes time out from performing with the Birmingham Conservatoire to put the choir through its lunchtime paces.
"As enthusiastic amateurs, it has been fantastic to work with a professional musician, particularly one the calibre of David," explains Nyree Applegarth, a partner in the firm who has helped to co-ordinate the choir's activities since it began in 2013.
"David certainly puts us through our paces - even some of the opening vocal exercises have taxed us at times, but he is a true professional and makes great allowances for the range of 'talent 'he has to work with."
That talent has come a long way since those early Christmas concerts and can now call upon I will Sing with the Spirit by John Rutter and Stanford's Shall We Come Dance amongst its ever expanding repertoire. Lighter pieces such as Let's Face the Music and Dance also perfectly suit the choir's blend of voices and vocal range.
Higgs' choristers bring a range of singing experiences to the group. Some are in their own words, complete novices who have never sung in public before, whilst others have some pretty impressive credentials when it comes to public performances. Trainee solicitor Hannah Bollard who has sung in several notable productions including Sister Act at Birmingham's Crescent Theatre is one such 'old hand'.
"I have always loved acting and singing at school and university, most recently as part of a local amateur musical theatre company, although I never expected to continue this passion as part of my training contract," comments Hannah.
"I have really enjoyed getting to know my colleagues throughout rehearsals and seeing how we've all developed as a team over the months into something (hopefully) worthy of raising the roof of Southwark Cathedral."
Despite such a range in experience, all of Higgs' choristers are now united in their enthusiasm for singing together, particularly as their new found passion is set to benefit the firm's chosen charity of the year, the Alzheimer's Society.
"Higgs & Sons has an extremely strong Community Services Programme (CSR) and each year the firm nominate its charity of the year for which we undertake various fundraising events," explains Nyree.
"This year we are working with the Alzheimer's Society and singing at Legal Harmony will be a great platform to not only raise funds for the charity, but to increase the profile of the organisation and the incredible work it does."
Partner Tim Jones, who heads the firm's CSR programme is thrilled that the Higgs & Sons choir is dedicating the proceeds of its fundraising to the charity. "It is extremely fitting that singing is playing such a key role in our fundraising activities for the Alzheimer's Society this year as music is such a powerful medium which can help to stir happy, positive memories.
"Everyone in the firm is wishing the choir well for the forthcoming Legal Harmony concert."
Such inspiration is helping to push the choir to new heights. Practice is keenly attended by all members and the group have agreed to continue beyond their Legal Harmony appearance at Southwark Cathedral. A firm summer party is the next scheduled performance, where they will be singing to colleagues, friends and their families in the grounds of a local stately home. Beyond that, who knows what the Higgs & Sons choir will go on to achieve.
But one thing's for sure, a choir that was brought together to celebrate a Christmas past, is still very much in harmony right here in the present.