Rock Choir carry on singing - and raising money for charities

Torquay Rock Choir leader Richard Toomer wearing a Rock Choir T-shirt

Torquay Rock Choir leader Richard Toomer - Credit: Submitted

When the 100 members of Torquay Rock Choir were forced to abandon their weekly rehearsals in Torquay Boys' Grammar School in March last year they decided that not even a pandemic wasn’t going to stop them singing or raising funds for their nominated charity, Guide Dogs South West.

Under the guidance and tutelage of leader and professional musician Richard Toomer, they continued to learn and rehearse new songs virtually adding to their rich repertoire normally performed for the residents of Torquay in events such as  the Torbay Airshow and also Cockington Court.

In addition to supporting local charities with their performances, Torquay Rock Choir - along with Teignmouth and Newton Abbot Rock Choirs - had committed to raising £5,000 which would enable them to 'Name a Puppy' with Guide Dogs South West.

The choirs were doing well with their fundraising efforts including coffee mornings, cake sales and book sales.

Lockdown ended these efforts but choir leader Richard came up with the idea of a virtual Christmas Big Sing during which the Torquay members would join with the members of his other choirs to dress up, sing and, most importantly, donate!

An amazing £1,795 was raised to be split between Guide Dogs South West and Children's Hospice South West. 

The total in the ‘Name a Puppy' fund now stands at £3,082 and the three Rock Choirs are busy with ideas to raise the balance as quickly as possible.

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A Rock Choir spokesperson said: "The only problem will then be choosing the name!"

Rock Choir nationally have also been busy supporting charities.

In December, they released a single of ‘Keeping the Dream Alive‘, a virtual recording of more than 4,500 Rock Choir members including Torquay Rockies.

The single went straight into number one in the ITunes chart and all the proceeds went to the Mental Health Foundation.

In addition and with the aim of lifting the spirits of the nation, they have reinstated their ‘ Keep Britain Singing ‘ initiative which is a free daily sing via YouTube at midday Mondays to Fridays.

This is available not just to Rock Choir members but to the public with a special weekly session for children and teenagers.

Richard and his choir members are doing everything they possibly can to carry on in these difficult times but, without exception, they cannot wait for the day when they can return in person to rehearse and perform and continue to raise money for local charities.

Meanwhile, they are very much open for business. The new term has just started with the membership learning the uplifting ‘Take a Chance on Me ‘by Abba and  the choir are still welcoming new members.

To join, email