Mike Harling grew up in rural New York State (“nothing but corn fields, cow farms and inbreeding”) and developed an early interest in music in the form of his parents’ phonograph and their small collection of Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins records. He sang in a number of church choirs during his youth but, in later years, became a solo performer. After taking up the guitar in his teens, he soon began playing in public and, for several years, toured the local folk music venues, having established a small but rabid following. (Don’t be too impressed; he was basically a pub singer) .
Mike wrote and performed his own material, most of it with a humorous slant. He released a single of his most popular ditty (”The Marsha Song” about a lonely geek with an unusual way of romancing prospective girlfriends) that even Dr. Demento refused to play on the radio because it was “really sick.”
Despite his descent into obscurity, music remained an important part of Mike’s life, and was peripherally responsible for his move to Sussex in 2002. (It’s complicated. Read the book he wrote about it, available on Kindle UK for £0.99.) Finding few opportunities to perform in Britain, he eventually decided to become a busker. Fortunately for the people of Sussex, an opportunity to join a choir (Horsham Harmony) arose and he decided to do that instead.
Singing with Horsham Harmony rekindled his love of choral music and encouraged him to brush up on his musical skills, study music theory (under the tutelage of his choir director) and even attempt to come to terms with the piano.
When the opportunity to become the director of the newly-formed Horsham Community Choir presented itself, he realized he wasn’t qualified, but he took it on anyway.
Since its founding in April 2017, Mike has grown along with the choir, and is currently assistant director of the Horsham Harmony Choir in addition to the Director of the Horsham Community Choir.
But he still hasn’t mastered the piano.