Choir Profile: University of Exeter World Music Choir



University of Exeter, Exeter


Currently dormant during the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope to return when it is safe to do so.
Normally meet – Tuesdays 7pm-8.30pm (during University term time)

Group type: Performing regularly
Run by: Alise Ojay

Further information:

Alise Ojay founded the University of Exeter World Music Choir in 2004. It is a Guild of Students society at the University of Exeter and is a non-auditioned choir with a repertoire of secular songs from around the world. Guild rules allow up to 50% of its members to be non-student, ‘associate’ members. As a result the choir has a lovely family feel with a wide range of ages represented.

The World Music Choir choir aims 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! (See dancing and sign language below …).

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.

As the songs are secular they are open to everyone, regardless of their beliefs, enabling people who might not otherwise sing together to come together in harmony as human friends. As the songs are rarely in English they are an equal challenge to all choir members regardless of their nationality. Combined with our welcoming non-auditioned openness, these are reasons why the choir attracts a large number of international students.

Repertoire: over the years Alise has taught an amazing range of songs – songs with beautiful harmonies, songs with exciting rhythms – songs from all over Africa, First Nation songs, songs from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, from Australia, from Canada, from North and South America … lullabies, songs of celebration, work songs, laments, love songs – we not only travel the world but the full range of human experience.

Mostly it’s just our voices in harmony, though, as singing is most definitely a whole body activity, we’re not averse to the odd accompanying dance!  Occasionally we add some percussion instruments (think Buffalo drums accompanying Native American songs) and a few times we’ve embellished our singing with sign language. Recently we incorporated one of us tap dancing as we happened to have a tap-dancing star within our midst!

We have a number of regular performances both on and off-campus, mostly supporting charities. Recently we were thrilled to sing at the Eden Project in Cornwall. We have also greatly enjoyed regularly attending the Community Choir Convention run by Nick Petts in Bristol.

Alise is also the author of “Singing for Snorers” a three month triple CD singalong throat exercise programme designed specifically for people who have started to snore or develop sleep apnoea as they have got older, if not solely at least significantly, because they have lost tone in their throat muscles. The exercises target, tone and strengthen the soft palate, palatopharyngeal arch and tongue. The exercise programme has been subjected to a clinical trial at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Hospital – with a positive outcome – and was seen on the BBC One Show in 2015. For more details see: