Here at A Mother Place Crosby we believe passionately about championing local ladies who are an inspiration to the rest of us. Whilst previous blog posts have up until now focused on local mums, going forward we will be opening up this interview series to include all and any local inspiration women.
In the first of our revamped interview series we met up with the lovely Rachel from Holistic Harmonies to find out more about how a young girl from Liverpool went from touring around Europe in stage productions, performing on Britain’s Got Talent and staring in Harry Potter to being a baby massage instructor and supporting local mums through the power of singing.
For anyone who’s attended any of Rachel’s sessions you will have been captivated by her warmth, her energy and enthusiasm for what she does. I was lucky to attend her first term of the Singing Mamas Choir and I LOVED it! I met some fantastic local mums and Rachel made us all feel at ease and most importantly got us all singing in harmonies as though we’d sung in choirs all our lives! Not one drowned cat amongst us!
Tell us a bit about yourself and Holistic Harmonies…
I’m originally from Liverpool but spent the past 16 years living and working in London. I have recently made the move back to Liverpool and have set up Holistic Harmonies.
From a very young age I got a thrill from anything to do with singing and movement, it didn’t matter what, I just loved to move my body and use my voice… I just couldn’t stop!
It quickly became a passion and a vocation, yet I’d always felt drawn to being around babies and children too. I had already had some pretty special experiences as a teenager; dancing as a cheerleader for the St Helen’s and Great British Rugby League teams, as a dancer for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, and performing a musical written specifically for Knowsley Music Theatre, the company I was a member of. We performed it at the Our Town theatre in the Millennium Dome in 2000. The fire for performance was burning most brightly when I was 18 and so I moved from Liverpool to London to seek my fortune!
I studied contemporary dance at Middlesex University and afterwards gained a Masters in Professional Performance from Millennium Dance theatre school. I had many wonderful experiences in my 20’s; touring Italy with Fame the musical, performing with Caburlesque on Britain’s Got Talent and reaching the semi finals, and working as a body double/stand in for Ginny Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1 & 2) was a highlight.
Throughout the performing years I was working as a nanny , music teacher and children’s entertainer in between jobs. Over the years I have worked for Gymboree, Monkey Music and Tick Tock Music as well as being a nanny for families with babies as young as 4 weeks old.
At the age of 27 I decided to focus on my work with children. I went back to college to study child development further. I managed to get a job as a Health Visitor Assistant as well as volunteering at The Bridge School for children with special needs in the music department, and as a family visitor for the charity Home Start.
After gaining some experience in what felt like ‘real life’! I got a job as a Family Support Worker on the Neo Natal unit at Homerton Hospital in East London. I gained SO much experience and knowledge working with premature babies and their families, but realised that hospital work and the NHS weren’t for me.
While working at the hospital I met an inspiring occupational therapist who was also a baby massage instructor. She suggested I’d be good at it; it would be a way of connecting with families in my own creative and emotional way without the constraints of the NHS.
I have been a baby massage instructor for 5 years now. I have also become somewhat of an entrepreneur in managing to work a few businesses on the go, meaning I could also use my creativity and go back to what I love without the pressure to earn a living from just performing; I set up a covers band called The Clicks, I was singing in a restaurant for a long while, I have now created my own music curriculum amalgamating all of the best bits I’ve learned along the way, and I am a newly qualified choir leader for The Singing Mamas.
What was your light bulb moment for setting up Holistic Harmonies?
I had worked for various companies in London; the education system and the NHS too and I realised that doing a 9 to 5, or working for an institution just wasn’t for me.
I had tried going down the more clinical, medical route and that didn’t sit right with me as I wasn’t using my creative skills at all. I was too old and jaded to push myself into the performance industry full-time!
I began thinking about how I could amalgamate all of the experiences and trades I had amassed: Certified Infant massage instructor, singer, dancer, nanny, family support worker. I knew that I wanted to carry on singing and dancing myself in my own life, yet I was becoming more and more passionate about working with women and the mental health and post partum support of new mothers.
I saw an advert to become a choir leader with the Singing Mamas around April 2018 and I knew it was for me straight away. With that certificate, I knew I could add another string to my bow and intertwine everything together to create a harmony that resonated within myself, and hopefully with others who work with me.
I am trying to build a working life that includes all of my skills and passions and is fulfilling, creative, gives me autonomy and freedom, and is hopefully benefiting the lives of the families I work with.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Moving back up to Liverpool, finding somewhere to live and setting up a new business with no contacts at all!
The biggest challenge in starting your own business is that you have no mentor, no one to challenge your strategy, your plans and ideas. You just have to go with your gut and practice a whole lot of trial and error!
Who inspires you and why?
The women of Liverpool have embraced me with open arms and it feels so heart warming. I have connected with a lot of like-minded women who run similar businesses and they have willingly told me their stories and are now being so encouraging and supportive of me… just like you, A Mother Place Crosby!
I have been doing some training at The Women’s Organisation and everyone I’ve met there has been SO inspirational.
Women in general inspire me because they have such a focused, yet soft approach to how they want their lives to be and have such strength and heart in everything they do.
What’s been your most memorable Holistic Harmonies Session?
The most heart warming moment I experienced in a recent choir session was that after 6 weeks of learning songs and supporting the women and singing along myself, I stopped, and I took a step back and just listened. The women were going for it, in full flow, tuned into each other and I felt so proud!
What’s next for Holistic Harmonies?
The winter term is upon us and begins on the 30th October. I have 3 choirs running in various areas of Liverpool.
I have connected with a great venue called The Handyman which is a pub on Smithdown Road, it has a huge space at the back with soft flooring. I’m looking forward to working alongside them to bring some baby massage courses and new Sing Along sessions where I’ll have lyrics up on the wall so we can all join in!
If you would like to find out more about the different classes Rachel offers or indeed try out any of her sessions (I highly recommend you do!) then check out her website for all the details: Holistic Harmonies
Be sure to follow her on social media too for more information
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