The sight of singers inside their own little box on a screen has become a familiar one this year, as choirs and singing groups have been forced to reinvent themselves online. Virtual groups can’t replace the social connection that singing together, in-person, provides, however they have been a powerful tool for boosting participants’ wellbeing and reducing isolation. One brilliant example is the national NHS Chorus-19 choir, which was set up in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and now has more than 1000 members. With small numbers now permitted to meet outdoors in England, we really hope it won’t be too long until these groups can come together and enjoy the experience of singing in-person. In the meantime though, we thought we’d take some time to highlight a couple of the exciting digital singing events coming up during Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2021.
Trinity Laban’s Inspired not Tired programme provides creative activity for older people aged 60 and above in Lewisham. You can join their singing group, The Befrienders, for their annual Sing and Spring Forth! event on Tuesday 18th May. They will be sharing new, old and original songs and will be joined by other community groups including The Age Exchange Tuesday Daycare Group. Jenny Barwise from Trinity Laban filled us in on The Befrienders, including what you can expect on the day:
“Sing and Spring Forth! Is an annual event full of joyous singing and laughter. It’s a chance to come together and sing from the heart, catch up over a cuppa or light lunch and have some fun!
The Befrienders have worked closely with Trinity Laban students, focusing on feelings of hopes for the future as we emerge from lockdown restrictions. For many, the microcosms in our gardens have helped us through the difficult times and this is a feature we are hoping to share with you. We will be joining together on Zoom on the 18 May at 12pm and everyone is welcome! Why not download our singalong pack”.
On Thursday 20th May, Music in Offices will host a singing workshop focussing on the mental health benefits of singing, led by Nicola Wydenbach and the Mind and Soul Choir. The event is open to all and will include a participatory singing session alongside talks from people with lived experience of mental health issues who are regular singers.
The ethos of the Mind and Soul Choir has been perfectly summed up by one of their members: “Going to singing is like having an Oyster card, you go on a Wednesday, you top it up, and it gets you through the rest of the week”. Nicola thinks “this is what the choir is all about. Even in lockdown when people cannot meet face to face, singing together, even on mute is needed and valuable”.
These events will be a brilliant showcase of some of the valuable work that has been continuing and growing this year and we really hope you can get involved – whether you’re an experienced singer or a total beginner!