I was introduced to Marie a few years ago by a mutual friend called Dave Okumu. If you haven't heard of Dave, you should check out his band The Invisible (they were nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in 2009) and Dave now also produces records for other people (including the debut album by Jessie Ware, also nominated for a Mercury Music Prize!).
As well as being an amazing musician, Dave is also one of the more decent and kinder people I know - so when he told me he would like to set up a meeting with his friend Marie who had founded with a "choir with a difference" I couldn't wait to find out more.
When Marie and I met for the first time, she gave a snapshot of what the choir was all about, what they had achieved so far, and what they were planning to do in the future. I think in Hollywood, they have something called an "elevator pitch" which basically means, if you are stuck in an elevator with a film director for 30 seconds, how do you get your idea across in a way which is going to make them stand up and take notice?
I'm certainly not comparing myself to Stephen Spielberg(!), but the point I'm clumsily trying to make, is that in Marie's case it only took about 15 seconds to hook me on the idea of the Choir with No Name.
CWNN and everything it works to achieve, instantly struck a chord, and I am constantly encouraged that other people (whether they are friends who we invite to gigs, or people or organisations who we approach for funding) seem to quickly and instinctively "get" what the organisation is all about and the fantastic role that it fulfils in so many people's lives.
Marie explained that CWNN was looking to expand the board of trustees. One of the roles to be filled was a trustee who was a qualified lawyer, and another was someone who had links with, and experience of working in the music industry.
I work as a solicitor at a law firm called Clinton's, where I specialise in advising artists on their legal and contractual rights in relation to their activities in the music, and wider entertainment industries.
So I think this meant I ticked both boxes, and I was delighted when Marie asked me if I would like to work with them.
As trustees, part of our role is to be involved in the decisions which shape the future of the charity - I have found this challenging and rewarding in equal measures, as it is a very fine balance to ensure that CWNN continues to build on the good work which it has done to date, whilst not departing from its founding principals. I have felt incredibly lucky to share trustee duties with some extremely talented, kind and smart people. Their combined experience, drawn from years of working with charities and other sectors, has made my first experience of working as a trustee a fantastic learning experience, and I feel as though I have made some good friends into the bargain.
I feel strongly that the Choir with No Name offers something unique and of immeasurable value to its members. My wish for the future is that this experience can be extended to all those who wish to be a part of it, without ever losing the integrity, warmth and personality which have made it such an incredible part of so many people's lives already.
So in the words of another classic track from CWNN songbook, let's keep Moving On Up!