Derby-based Sinfonia Viva, the East Midlands’ only professional orchestra, is launching a new initiative to bring together local people who are carers for family and friends.
The new Carers’ Choir will be open to people across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire who will come together once a month to enjoy music and potentially have opportunities for performing.
The choir, which will be free to join, will be launched on Tuesday March 21, 7.30pm to 9.30pm at The Voicebox, Forman Street, when carers and support groups are invited to come along for a taster session.
The choir will be led by award-winning choral conductor David Lawrence, pictured above, who will introduce a selection of choral favourites, songs from popular shows and pop favourites.
The Carers’ Choir has been set up as part of Sinfonia Viva’s 35th anniversary programme – enabling more people than ever to experience creative music making.
As well as a packed concert programme across the region and beyond, Viva is aiming to work directly with 3,500 people over the next 12 months through a series of education and community creative projects.
The project has been made possible for a year with a £13,000 grant from the Bupa UK Foundation’s Caring for Carers Funding programme as part of its focus to help unpaid adult carers to support, manage and improve their own health.
To ensure its future, Viva has launched an anniversary appeal to encourage people to donate £35 to fund its increased education and community work – including the development of the Carers’ Choir
Sinfonia Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough explained: “We have a national reputation for working with communities to develop high quality and award winning engagement projects.
“Our work has included creating music with people in hospitals, hospices, schools, nurseries, special education needs settings, care homes, rural communities and in inner city areas.
“The success of our own community, education, choral and music making projects along with others both locally and nationally – from rock choirs to the famous Military Wives – show the popularity, appetite and benefits of shared singing.
“Singing together is proven to be an excellent way of boosting self esteem and confidence, releasing pain and stress-relieving endorphins and being a part of a team that is creating something.
“There is a significant number of people locally who are carers for family members from children with special needs to elderly parents and many more who are furthermore juggling work and caring responsibilities.
“There is widespread recognition that, as well as practical support, carers can feel socially isolated. They greatly benefit from the opportunity to take a well-deserved break and enjoy a group activity.
“The Carers Choir is a natural progression for us as an Orchestra and meets the needs of an often hidden section of our local community.
“It is an opportunity to join like-minded people and enjoy the chance to try something new together in a relaxed and supportive environment.
“People don’t need to have any previous choral experience and David Lawrence is fantastic at helping people to find their voice.”
Sinfonia Viva is working directly with carer support groups and service providers across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire to encourage people to join. However, anyone who is caring for a friend or relative – full time or part time whilst still working – is also invited to attend.