Welcome to University of Exeter World Music Choir

Please note our choir is currently dormant.

By using 'world music' in our name we have always meant to convey our interest in and equal respect for all the vocal music sung by us human beings to help enrich our lives here on our planet - whether we're singing a local sea shanty from our home county, Devon in the UK, or a horse-back riding song from Imereti in Western Georgia. We have been proud to be invited to sing many times at Exeter's Respect Festival and fully endorse the Respect message: "All different. All equal." Our choir also campaigned for the creation of the first Respect Festival on the University campus, and was regularly invited to perform at campus events celebrating diversity.

Because of our respect for the people who wrote the songs we have sung and the context of those songs in their lives, now that the term 'world music' has been highlighted as having been used predominantly with a white-centric meaning, referring to 'non-white, non-western music', we do not want to associate with that - it was never what we meant by the term. We always considered all music to be world music. However, unlike Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking Glass', we do not think we can make words mean whatever we want. Shared meaning is vital for communication and to avoid misunderstanding. So if our choir restarts we will decide together as a student committee and choir on a new name which can capture the respect we have always felt for songs and people from all over, near and far, wherever we happen to live on our shared planet.

Apologies! Please note: Our choir is currently dormant. This was originally due to Coronavirus and is now because our director needs to work full-time on her Singing for Snorers programme.
We hope to return one day!
Please regard the rest of this website as a historical record of what we did and hopefully one which will apply again if and when we return!

Come and join us!

We are a Student Guild Society and meet at Exeter University on Tuesday evenings during term time to sing gorgeous songs from the world over, both local in time and place and far away in time and place! All diffferent. All equal. All demonstrating our shared humanity over place and time.

World Music Choir is a family away from home...

We warmly welcome non-student members. We also welcome international students who love our friendly atmosphere and the fact that we're all learning songs in 'foreign' languages so everyone is experiencing the same challenge and 'in it together'! With choir members of all ages and different life experiences we feel like a real community.


We sing a fantastically wide variety of secular songs from folk traditions to modern compositions from all over the world: from the achingly beautiful to the wild and energetic, from the meditatively simple to the brain-challengingly complex.

For example: songs from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle and Far East, songs from different countries in Africa, songs from Australia and New Zealand, from Canada, the United States, Central and South America ... lullabies, songs of celebration, work songs, laments, love songs - on Tuesday evenings we travel the world giving voice to a wide range of human experience.

Mostly when we sing it's just our unaccompanied voices singing together in harmony ...however, as singing is most definitely a whole body activity, we're not averse to some movement and dance! Also we occasionally add some percussion instruments (think Buffallo drums accompanying First Nation/ Native American songs) and a few times we've embellished our singing with sign language. In our 2016 repertoire we incorporated one of us tap-dancing as we happened to have a tap-dancing star within our midst! (See photo of Katy opposite.)

Our aim is to create gorgeous music in a warm and welcoming atmosphere which is playful, creative, often wacky (we laugh a lot!) and always from the heart; upon occasion aiming surprisingly high …or adventurously sideways!

We have a fun and inspirational professional director - Alise Ojay. Alise has conducted our choir since its formation in 2004, whist she also conducted our 'sister' choir the Crediton World Music Choir for 19 years.

Apart from running choirs Alise also runs a small business called 'Singing for Snorers' - she designed a programme of singing exercises to tone the throat muscles to help people who start to snore or develop sleep apnoea as they get older. You may have seen her on BBC1's The One Show or heard her being interviewed on Radio 4's Today.

Alise's teaching is clear and creative. All the songs are taught by ear but Alise also provides word sheets and/ or musical scores for more complex songs. For major challenges sing-along sound files are also made available.

Performances: We perform a few times a year ...once we have a repertoire! In previous years we have regularly given a Winter Concert and sung at the Bristol Community Choir gathering (coach trip in the spring term!) - see us below in March 2017 ...

- and in the summer at Exeter's wonderful Respect Festival. For two years running we have sung for Amnesty International's vigil in support of Refugees in Exeter High Street (photos below) and for many years at Animal Aid's 'Christmas without Cruelty' Christmas Fayre. Last year we also sang at the Eden Project in Cornwall (fun!) and were asked to create a concert to raise money for a pre-school in The Gambia which has spaces available for disabled children ... we've been invited to do another concert for the same charity in 2018!

We have a social secretary who organises social get-together treats for us - Herbies Vegetarian Restaurant has been our favourite foody haunt - other treats have included walks on Dartmoor and by the coast.

Joining us: we do not have auditions - everyone who loves to sing is welcome. We just ask you to try your best, along with the rest of us, to do justice to the musical traditions we explore ...and to have fun in the process!

We sing a cappella, so we have to be able to hold our tuning without the support of accompanying instruments. This means we all need to develop our ability to hold our own part whilst hearing the harmonies around us. This is a major challenge and a skill which comes with practise. Being amongst these vocal harmonies is the glorious thrill of harmony singing! When you're new we'll try to make sure you're in the middle of the group singing your part. As you get more experienced you can venture out to the edges where you can bathe in the harmonies!

We meet for rehearsals on the University Streatham campus every Tuesday from 7pm - 8.30 pm in Seminar Rooms 7-9 in the Forum, except in the Summer term when we're in Room 3 Cornwall House (by the swimming pool).

Cost for students: £20 annual membership + £2 subs for each session.

Cost for non-students: £60/ £50(concession) per 10 week term in Autumn and Spring. The Summer term is proportionately reduced as it is a short term. (This includes an annual payment to the student Guild for being a student Guild 'Associate Member')

Please note: Student Guild rules only allow us to have up to half our members being non-students. We will endeavour to recruit so many students this doesn't become an issue but if we have to restrict non-students from joining us, priority will be given to previous members and non-student men as singing men are such a rare and necessary resource!

See and hear us! Click here: Photos and Videos page.

For more information email

Alise Ojay (Musical Director): admin@singingforsnorers.com