The Phoenix Choir
The Story So Far ....
In April 2009, the choir’s Musical Director, Robin Burnett, set up the inaugural meeting by inviting friends and previous musical colleagues to discuss the possibility of starting a new mixed choir. The first rehearsal took place a few weeks later in Wootton and the choir have met ever since on most Tuesday evenings at the Wootton Bridge Methodist Church.
Choir members come from various parts of the Island and between them there is a wide range of backgrounds and varying levels of choral singing experience.
Members have, at one time or another, belonged to the following organisations: The Wight Musical Society, Sandown Operatic and Dramatic Society, Island Savoyards, The Orpheus Singers, St John’s Church Choir (Newport), Cowes Operatic, Solent Gilbert and Sullivan Society, The Wight Strollers, Whangarei theatre choir (New Zealand), Harrogate Choral Society, Harrogate Amateur Operatic, Lytham St Annes Choral Society, Ryde Chorus, Bembridge Singers, Lively Ladies, Hull Youth For Christ Choir, Bethany Gospel Singers, Damascus Road Gospel Group, Brading Haven Yacht Club Review Cast, Southward Cathedral Choir, Wight Satin, Smile female barbershop, Cruise ships entertainment team, Good Intents Bembridge, Island Cantata Choir, Newchurch Male Voice Choir, Bonchurch Village Singers, St Paul’s Church Choir Barton, Welsh Youth Choir, National Youth Choir, Welsh Opera Chorus, Men of Wight Morris Men. St Thomas’ Church Choir Newport, Bonchurch Singers, Blue Velvet, The Island Voice Workshop, St Albans TG Choir, Caleigh band, Salvation Army band and Rochester Co-op Choir.
Individual claims to fame have included: Performing for Lord Louis Mountbatten, singing at The Banqueting Hall (London), playing in a Salvation Army band, entertaining in an open prison, competing at Eisteddfods, singing with an Island band, success in the Wimbledon, Epsom, Balham, Tooting and the London Music Festivals, singing professionally, producing Old Tyme Music Hall shows, playing in a Caleigh band, professional performances at Ryde Pavilion and winning their class in the Isle of Wight Musical Festival.
Members’ occupations, past and present, include: Water engineer, air hostess, social worker, dentist’s receptionist, RAF, radar company manager, textile manufacturer, house keeper, training manager, medical secretary, optician’s receptionist, Territorial Army, primary school teacher, radiographer, Royal Navy, district nurse, industrial oven manufacturer, hovercraft hostess, shop keeper, Housing Benefit assessor, dinner lady, special needs assistant, insurance clerk, knitwear designer, philosophy teacher, clerk to Town Council, computer tutor, hotelier, building company owner, hotel manager/licensee, secretary and lay minister.
The choir’s public performances began in April 2010 and to date have all been held in church buildings. These normally give better acoustics and result in a rounder sound. The choir limit performances to six each year. To date, the choir have sung in Newport Minster, St Saviour’s Church Shanklin, Holy Trinity Church Bembridge, Wootton Bridge Methodist Church, Ryde Baptist Church, Bembridge Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Church Ryde, Church of the Good Shepherd Lake, Cowes Methodist Church, St John’s Church Ryde, Newport Methodist Church, St Paul’s Church Barton, St John the Evangelist Church Sandown, Ryde Methodist Church, St John's Church Newport, Shanklin Methodist Church, All Saints Church Ryde, East Cowes Town Hall, St. Helens Church and St. Catherines Church Ventnor.
Brief Profile of the Musical Director
The Phoenix Choir’s Musical Director is Robin Burnett. Born and bred on the Island, Robin learnt to play the piano from the age of 5 and has been involved in music ever since.
In his younger days, and for more than 20 years, he played in local groups and bands - The Crescents, The Culver Club Band, The Del Mondo Trio and Skyline.
He has co-written original musicals to help raise funds for the Bembridge Young Community Club (‘Moonshine Man’, ‘Eternal Colonel’ and ‘Bandida’). Subsequently with the Wight Musical Society he wrote the music for ‘Mountainsong’. The Wight Musical Society also held concert performances at a number of venues on the Island and Robin was their Musical Director.
With the Phoenix Choir he writes all the song the arrangements, records and plays the accompaniment, and rehearses the choir and is the MD at their concert performances.
Robin can closely relate to the choir’s signature tune ‘Music’.