About Me

Sarah aims to hit the high notes with a new career

As a drama, singing and piano teacher and member of a close harmony barber shop style quartet, Carousel, Sarah Chapman is well used to performing in front of an audience.

In a new career move however, at the age of 55 she has become one of the first in the country to gain a new qualification as a naming and couples celebrant.

Her interest was sparked after attending a family funeral which was conducted by a funeral celebrant rather than a member of the clergy.

“I was so impressed with both the celebrant and the service itself, which was a mixture of serious occasion and light-heartedness,” said Sarah, who lives in Totnes. “When I spoke to the celebrant afterwards he suggested I research the course, which is how I got started.”

Sarah studied with training specialist Civil Ceremonies, which offers two separate courses – one for funeral celebrants and one for family and couple  celebration ceremonies including naming ceremonies, wedding and partnership celebration ceremonies and commitment ceremonies.

Uniquely, both courses are approved by Government training body Ofqual, providing a Level 3 Diploma qualification. Official approval also means that, if appropriate, students who meet the necessary criteria can apply for grant-aid funding.

“I decided to do the ‘’happier’ ceremonies first and what I’m looking forward to most is putting together a celebration ceremony which is exactly what people want and which also has something I can put into it,” said Sarah.

“It’s the perfect role because it combines my love of being involved in events and ‘performing’, with making a wonderful and very personal day for couples and families.”

With her website, celebrationceremoniesouthwest.co.uk, Sarah is planning a profile raising campaign to promote her new venture.

In the meantime, she is continuing to juggle her piano and singing roles – which includes facilitating “Singing for the Brain” classes for people with dementia – and is keen to make the most of the new string to her bow.

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