Sing up with Cockburn Community Choir

Did you know that Cockburn School run a Community Choir? I recently joined and can highly recommend it.

The choir is led by Sophie Thiruchelvam, a professional singing teacher who works at the school and is open to anyone who would like to sing. The group sing a range of styles from pop to musical theatre and classical. At the moment we are working on some carols to sing at a local care home.

You don’t need any prior experience, you don’t need to read sheet music and there are no auditions. The choir is free and runs every Tuesday in term time at 5pm for an hour.

The choir has been going for years, but had to stop during the pandemic and numbers have been slow to pick up since it restarted, so they are keen for new members to join.

Joining a choir, or any group, can feel a bit daunting, but Sophie puts everyone at ease. She’s clear that we are here to enjoy ourselves, so while we attempt some tricky three-part harmonies there’s no pressure if we get it wrong or sing the main tune instead of our part.

I spoke to some of the other choir members about what brought them back each week

“It’s something for me. It’s an hour out of your life for yourself and I enjoy it, everybody enjoys a good sing song, don’t they?”

“I suffer from anxiety and I come out of here and I feel great and I’m singing all the way home. It’s ace, I’ve been coming for a year now and I absolutely love it.”

“Sophie’s lovely and the whole group’s really friendly.”

“If you’re feeling a bit fed up you just come and it’s just refreshing.”

“Sometimes you think ‘Oh do I have to go?’ But then you go and when you come out it’s so good.”

“It helps you switch off because you can’t think about anything else while you’re concentrating on the music.”

“When you come out you feel like you’ve grown a bit, you feel quite tall.”

I would certainly agree with all those comments. The science that says that singing uses a different part of your brain and I certainly come away from choir feeling my brain has had a workout, but in a good way.

I always get a bit anxious learning a new song, or especially a harmony part to a song I do know. How will I ever remember it next week? But somehow your brain does remember and out it comes. That’s why music is so important for people suffering from dementia, they may struggle with names and faces, but they can still sing an old song.

If, like me, you’ve been told in the past that you can’t sing, or you can’t hold a tune, don’t believe it. Everyone can sing, singing is good for you, so come and join us.

Email: or just come to the main entrance at 5pm on a Tuesday.

Cockburn School is located on Gipsy Lane, Beeston, LS11 5TT


Photo: Cockburn Community Choir singing carols outside Pennington Court care home last year


Whilst you’re here, can we ask a favour?

South Leeds Life is published by a not-for-profit social enterprise. We keep our costs as low as possible but we’ve been hit by increases in the print costs for our monthly newspaper – up 50% so far this year.

Could you help support local community news by making a one off donation, or even better taking out a supporters subscription?

Donate here, or sign up for a subscription at

Thank you for your support