A couple of weeks ago, I received a pretty fabulous invitation to Barbados. Flying out with Virgin Holidays for a week at The Club Barbados, right next to Sandy Lane on the gorgeous, calm west coast of Barbados – a no brainer right? Well, almost. The bit of the invitation that had me hesitating was this: ‘come and be part of an exclusive expert led “Caribbean Choir” singing workshop’. Singing? Me?! I mean, yes, I sing in the shower, but a choir? I was nervous, but in my positive life plan notes, I’ve definitely written ‘be brave’ and ‘do something that scares you’, so I decided to embrace the challenge and replied with a firm yes!
About The Club, Barbados Resort & Spa
With a handful of pretty little four storey white wooden buildings clustered around a central area of beautiful blue pools, The Club, part of the Elite Island Resorts group, is an intimate and welcoming adults only resort with lovely, friendly staff. The pools are surrounded by waving palms and frangipani trees covered in perfect scented blossoms that occasionally float lazily down to bob about on the turquoise water, and it’s all topped off with an ice cream scoop of vanilla sand washed gently by the crystal clear Atlantic.
Singing holidays in Barbados – how it works
Guests join the free of charge workshops with all round legend, vocal coach and music producer, Mike, for singing coaching for a couple of hours every morning, with a performance at the end of the week. It’s all great fun, no pressure and just a wonderful addition to a beautiful holiday, giving yourself a little challenge and learning a fabulous new skill.
It’s funny how you bond so quickly with strangers isn’t it? On day one, Mike had us laughing by asking us to turn to the person next to us and give them a hug. There were awkward embraces and shy smiles. By the end of the week, the hug session took ages as well all wanted to hug every single person in the room.
About Mike King
Mike is one of the UK’s leading contemporary vocal coaches. He has his own contemporary choir, The Mike King Collective, and is also a musical director, arranger, song writer and performer. He’s worked on The Voice UK, and has worked with all sorts of stars like Mark Ronson, Boy George and Florence Welch. Mike’s wife Carol also joined our Caribbean choir and was just so supportive and lovely, and it was a privilege to get to know them both. What lovely people – I really hope we’ll stay in touch.
How we got on
It was obvious that we were all a bit nervous and self conscious, but Mike made it all such fun. I never thought I could do harmonies, but it turns out that it’s as easy as just practising a different melody (and trying not to listen when the others are singing something different). We were soon belting out ‘Let’s Stay Together’ and nailing the harmonies on the first day. I was a bit gobsmacked, and very proud. There’s such an amazing sense of achievement and that really brings you together as a group.
Day two saw us rehearsing on the beach and after only four hours, it was really coming together. In the evening we were invited to watch Mike’s Voices for Lupus choir in Ellerslie The choir were so friendly and welcoming and we even sang a little bit with them – what a feeling!
The whole experience is so inclusive and supportive. We even sang a solo each which was terrifying, but when you’re surrounded by smiling, encouraging faces, you begin to feel that anything is possible and it’s so empowering. By day three we’d learned all of our four songs and then it was just a case of practising to make sure our harmonies were stuck in our brains. By the last day of rehearsals, we all magically remembered our songs and – wow – the performance was just amazing: some of the Voices for Lupus choir came to watch us perform and the other guests came to watch us sing and were just such an amazing audience. We were on such a high for hours afterwards! Here’s a clip of our performance from my Facebook page:
Honestly, I don’t even know how to express how wonderful this holiday was. I love to sing (in the shower and car, mainly), but I’ve never really considered joining a choir. I just love the idea of coming on a gorgeous holiday and combining it with something interesting and maybe just a bit out of your comfort zone. If you’re looking for a total escape to do something just for you – this could be perfect. These singing holidays in Barbados are fab for singles, as you meet and bond with lovely, like-minded people, and also great for couples, even if only one of you wants to join in. We met lovely Clement, who loves to sing, and while we practised, his wife happily lazed by the pool and did her own thing for a couple of hours. Here’s a little snippet of our trip, including a glimpse of Clement’s wonderful solo:
How to join one of the singing holidays in Barbados
Fancy joining the Caribbean Choir Workshops? They’re free of charge (with 25 places available) at The Club Barbados on the following dates: May 1-11 2018. Then, further dates are planned throughout 2018 and 2019 on Barbados and other Elite Island Resorts locations on Antigua and St. Lucia.
Huge love and thanks to Karen, Elite Island Resorts, all the staff at The Club, Barbados, Virgin Holidays and of course Mike and Carol.
Virgin Holidays offers 7 nights at The Club Barbados Resort & Spa from £1535pp: seven nights in Barbados with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick direct to Barbados, all inclusive accommodation at The Club Barbados Resort and Spa, with transfers included. Price is per person based on 2 adults travelling and sharing a Garden View room and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure on 7th May 2018.
Start your holiday before you’ve even taken off in the v-room at Gatwick Airport: adults £20.00, kids from £12. Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book, visit www.virginholidays.co.uk, 0344 557 3859 or visit one of our 110 stores located in Debenhams and House of Fraser stores nationwide.
Parking at Gatwick
As usual, I reserved meet and greet airport parking with APH Meet & Greet parking, but I know a lot of people prefer to park themselves. You can also reserve Park & Ride at APH Gatwick – based just 10 to 15 minutes from Gatwick and with round the clock transfers every 15 minutes, APH offers great value parking with a smile! You just drive straight into the car park and head for the arrival bays where a fully trained and insured valet will carefully park your car for you. Once you’ve handed over your keys, you are free to hop on the comfortable transfer bus and make the short journey to the airport.
Picking up your car is just as easy; upon arrival, head for the dedicated bus stop right outside the terminal where you will be picked up and returned to your car. APH Gatwick is fully secure and features CCTV, 24 hour staff, and has been awarded the Park Mark Safer Parking award; so you can relax knowing that your car is safe and secure, and in the best possible hands. You can even book handy combined packages for an overnight airport hotel stay and parking.