Old Farnhamians' Association

2012 Farnham Lecture

A Musical Phenomenon

Caroline Redman Lusher

L to R: Michael Horner, John Crotty, Caroline Redman Lusher, Cyril Trust and Tony Gatfield

25 October 2012

Caroline Redman Lusher, founder of Rock Choir, interrupted her nationwide visit to all of her 150 choirs to give the twenty-fourth Farnham Lecture at Farnham College. The event, organised by the Farnhamian 400 Trust, attracted well over one hundred people, thanks to several choir members adding to the Old Farnhamians contingent.

Cyril Trust, the organiser and MC for the evening began by saying that as a member of The Hedgehogs he recalls having the local Rock Choir open their 2005 Farnham Fashion Show, with this being their first recorded public appearance. He handed over to Caroline, who proceeded to give an account of her early years and the rise to fame of Rock Choir across the country.

As a young girl she was taught to play both piano and violin and from that time had the desire to become a pop star. She studied music and obtained a degree, but subsidised this by appearing in one or two London clubs playing and singing at the piano. Eventually it was discovered that she was only fifteen and under age and thus ended this part of her career.

After trying a variety of jobs she returned to her parent’s home in Farnham and after a few months was asked if she would teach music to pupils at Farnborough College. The pupils could not read music and she devised a simple way to teach them how to sing as a group and eventually the singers numbered over 150 pupils. Using this formula she decided to try and form a local choir and was surprised to greet about seventy volunteers at the first rehearsal. The first Rock Choir was from Farnham and practised in the very hall she was speaking in.

Soon the news spread and people asked for choirs across the country, which required musical graduates to help teach the singers, who in the main had little musical experience. As the phenomenon gathered pace the media showed interest and soon Caroline was being interviewed on Breakfast TV, The Paul O’Grady Show and finally ITV wanted to produce a three part documentary about Rock Choir. Next saw interest from the record companies and she signed a contract with Universal, who owned Decca Records, and the first album raced into the charts and made number two after only a few days.

The organisation grew rapidly and there are now 150 choirs, over 50 musical graduates and an excellent support group. In 2011 she brought 10,000 singers together at Wembley Arena for a concert and plans to have two similar concerts in 2013, with one at the O2 Centre and the other at Liverpool Echo. Not content with this huge work load she has sung on recent album hits by The Soldiers and on a Sting album and still enjoys singing in her own right.

The awards are arriving thick and fast, and recently she was given a special award for her services to the music industry and has been short listed for Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She still aims to produce a number one album, still hopes for more choirs in the UK and is looking to spread the formula internationally.

The talk ended with a short film showing some of the highlights of Rock Choir to date. This was a most accomplished lecture by a lady who knows where she is going and is destined for even more success. Good to know that such success began life in Farnham!



400 Trust
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