New Oldham Tuneless Choir promises no one can sing too badly for them

Date published: 02 September 2019

A new Tuneless Choir is to launch in Oldham on Wednesday 18th September, for those who lack the ability, confidence or practice to sing in tune. 

The group is being established by Gemma Cunliffe who has recently moved back to her hometown, having enjoyed being a member of the Beeston Tuneless Choir in Nottingham.

Gemma says “I moved back to Oldham following the deaths of both my partner Paul and my Mum within a year of each other. I just wanted to be nearer my family. One thing that’s really helped me with my grief is singing.

"Although sometimes the words in songs can bring on sudden emotions, singing acts as a release for these.

"I always felt better and more relaxed the day after a Tuneless Choir visit, and I’ve missed it terribly since moving back to Oldham.

“I looked at what was available in and around the town and found there’s nothing for those who are truly tuneless, like myself, and don’t actually want to learn how to sing.

"I love belting tunes out with a group of like-minded (and equally tuneless) people. Once I realised there was the potential to set up my own choir I knew I had to do it.”

Tuneless Choirs are for anyone who wants to enjoy the physical, emotional and social benefits that group singing brings, without the stress of trying to improve.

Their motto is “singing like no one is listening”. There are now over 30 choirs around the country.

Gemma adds “Singing gets our endorphins flowing, which are known as the happy hormones.  So, as well as reducing stress it can help with anxiety and depression.  It’s even been shown to help boost the immune system.  Most of all though, it’s just a really pleasurable thing to do with other people.”

Gemma has teamed up with former work colleague Sarah Wheeler, who has the musical credentials to lead the choir, having taken to the stage at the tender age of 5, and performed since in operettas, pantomimes and concerts. 

Sarah says “I saw an advert that Gemma had posted about looking for someone to help start the choir for people who could not sing but wanted to give it a go.  I thought this was a fantastic idea.

“I hope it will be a place where the good folk of Oldham and the surrounding areas can come and feel welcome and enjoy singing without being judged. I would love to have a happy, give it a go, sing at full belt choir who when they leave each session do so with smiles on their faces and songs in their hearts. Everyone will be welcome to share this experience – no one will sing too badly for us!”

The pair worked together 13 years ago, at Oldham Crematorium, though Sarah is now a full-time mum and Gemma is an administrator for Oldham Council.

The choir will run fortnightly on Wednesday evenings from 7.30pm to 9pm at The Cotton Rooms, on Rock Street in Oldham.  For the launch on 18th September doors will open at 7pm.

Anyone interested in attending the launch is asked to book a place in advance from or contact Gemma on or 07719 046374.  

Tickets for the launch are £10 per person. Once someone has joined the choir it will be possible to sign up for a whole term in advance at the equivalent of £5 per session or attend to on a pay as you go basis for £7.

Sarah says “We’ll sing a real mix of songs from through the decades and across the genres, favourites that most people will know. We’ll be open to suggestions of course and will run theme nights – we’ve agreed we’ve got to do The Time Warp for Halloween.”


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