No audition required. Everyone welcome. The Welcome Singers choir can be heard rehearsing at the Pensioners Centre every Wednesday afternoon when others in the building can “enjoy” a range of music from classical to gospel. Giving outside performances, however, has always been part of what the choir does – hospitals, community council meetings, shopping centres, churches, parks – you name it and we’ve sung there.
Come and fill your lungs in good company and enjoy learning new music with our talented choir director, Sue. Incidentally, Sue directed the first performance of the Welcome Singers on March 17th 2004.
From the December 2012 newsletter:
But for nearly a year now, in a new project, the Welcome Singers have been singing in care homes. With financial support from the Minet Trust, which funds activities in Southwark and Lambeth, we are making twelve visits to residential care and nursing homes (and supported housing) between 2012 and 2014.
We decided at the start, that we’d sing in three homes to develop some continuity and after six months, we’ve already been to homes in Peckham, Camberwell and Herne Hill. Dates have also been set for return visits in the next three months. Under the leadership of our inspiring and enthusiastic conductor/director, Sue Heath-Downey, we’ve sung a range of music which we hoped would appeal to residents and include numbers they would already be familiar with. Programmes have included madrigals, folk songs, gospel numbers, songs from musicals and rounds, including “I’ve got a Freedom Pass”, music from the 17th century, words by our choir member, Tony Lynes.
Not wanting to blow our own trumpet (pardon the musical reference) the visits have been a huge success. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves – the residents, the staff, and choir members. The homes’ activities organisers have been very welcoming – and if funding (and time) allowed, they’d like us to visit weekly! Residents have enjoyed the performances in a variety of ways, including our last visit where our singing prompted two residents to get up and dance as we sang. Some know the music and join in; others sit and quietly appreciate the singing; others seem to be asleep but no one has woken up and asked us to “stop the music”. Staff too have appreciated the music but also the arrival of new faces when some residents may have few if any visitors.
At the moment, we’re gathering feedback from the homes and from members of the choir which will form part of an initial progress report to the Minet Trust.
If you would like to join the Welcome Singers and take part in this project, come along on a Wednesday afternoon (2pm to 4pm at the Centre) and join us!
Alison Wertheimer, SPC Member