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Twenty years ago, nerves stopped me singing in public. Could I get my voice back?

As a young woman, I spent many happy hours in a choir. In my 40s, even the sound of one would make me sad

I resolved to do something about the lack of singing in my life two years ago when a friend invited me to a performance of Handel’s Messiah and I found myself replying: “I think it would make me too sad.”

I knew I would be sad, because it happened every time I heard a choir, especially at Christmas. If I caught the Nine Lessons and Carols or heard a snatch of any Messiah chorus, I was gripped by a painful nostalgia for singing and for the feeling of being part of the living, harmonising organism that is a choir. I sounded, I realised, absurd. It was absurd: nothing was stopping me from going back to singing other than my own fears.

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