The inevitable bit about singing as a child
Faith has enjoyed singing for as long as she can remember – around the family home as well as in school & church choirs. She’s looking angelic (gormless?) at the far left of the front row in this church choir photo from the early 1970s. Her sister, Judith, is behind her, second left on the back row.
Faith’s particular love of unaccompanied harmony singing really got going, however, when she became a member of Strange Company, a Manchester based women’s acapella group, in 1987. Although they mainly sang for fun in each other’s kitchens, Strange Company periodically performed to great acclaim during their 12 years together.
Faith is now a member of: The Lovenotes with Jules Gibb, Katherine Watson and Rose Hodgson. They often perform with jazz / blues singer, Helen Watson (popular surname!).
The start of Singing for Larks
In 1988, Faith helped out a friend by teaching a harmony song to fellow students on a jazz evening class. The group loved it… and so did Faith… so she set up her own Harmony Singing evening class in Manchester. From this sprang further regular, short term and one-off workshops in the North West of England. Then in 1994, Janet Mitchell (a member of the evening class) became so inspired by Faith’s approach that she came up with the idea of Singing Weekend Breaks which would combine the joy of group singing with good food (her own passion) and beautiful surroundings. Together, Janet and Faith set up Singing for Larks Harmony Singing Weekends, and the first weekend break was held at Whaley Hall in June 1996. Over the years, the annual Singing for Larks programme has expanded to include workshops of various lengths and on several different themes and, since 1999, Faith has run Singing for Larks (Ltd) as a full time occupation. This photo shows Janet and Faith grinning at the 10th anniversary celebration weekend at Dillington House in Somerset in 2006.
Getting about a bit
Faith has been a member of the Natural Voice Network since it started in 1995. She still leads regular harmony singing groups in Greater Manchester and one-off sessions throughout the country for other singing groups and choirs. Further afield, Faith has been running workshops at the Helsinki University Summer School in Finland since 2004 and she has run natural voice singing holidays for the activity holiday company Authentic Adventures. This photo was taken on a singing holiday in Kerala in 2010.
Faith has been commissioned to lead singing workshops by organisations with a specific social or health focus (including: Back on Track, Manchester and various NHS Trusts) and by public and private organisations wanting a creative approach to team building (including: Liverpool University; Harvest Housing Association; Vistage CEO and Executive Training).
With her years of experience, Faith has gained an excellent reputation as a trainer, offering her own courses and mentoring in: Leading Singing Workshops, Teaching Songs Clearly, and Song Arranging and delivering bespoke training for other organisations (including: the University of Central Lancashire and Nordoff Robbins music therapy.
Getting round to sharing her Songs and Arrangements
For years, Faith has written and arranged acapella songs, not just for her own open-access workshops, but also for a variety of performance groups and for professional theatre.
For many of those years, other voice leaders have been asking her to make her songs and arrangements available as teaching resources to buy. It was only in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced Faith to stop running workshops and furlough herself from Singing for Larks, that she finally concentrated on this project, encouraged by fellow NVN leader, Clare Elleray-Mee. You can read all about how the project started here: Faith Watson’s Songs and Arrangements Crowdfunder appeal or take a look below at the video of Clare and Faith reflecting on their Crowdfunder journey.
It is with a tremendous sense of relief that Faith has finally managed to do this project and she’s delighted to offer her songs and arrangements on this new website.