Withernsea Ladies’ Choir has held the first in its series of inclusive events aimed at encouraging people to discover the joys of singing – and members are now looking forward to the next one this weekend.
The event at the Church Rooms in Patrington on Saturday, October 28, was the opening session in the choir’s SING events (Social Inclusion New Opportunities Get Together) taking place across the area in the coming weeks.
Caroline Busse, of the choir, said they had taken a slightly different approach in a bid to make the sessions welcoming to all.
She said: “After finally wrestling our giant posters into submission, we managed to fix them to the walls and started organising tables and chairs for people to sit round in small groups, which we felt reflected the social inclusion aspect of the event better than the more formal seating arrangement we use for rehearsals.
“As people started arriving, we met up with friends old and new. Musical director Patrick Pearson led us through as number of well-known songs as a warm-up, after which we moved on to carols.”
Rev Alistair Laird, vicar of St Patrick’s Church, paid a surprise visit, adding his “rich baritone” to the mix, Caroline added.
“With the altos and guests singing the main tunes, the sopranos had a welcome opportunity to practise the descants to some of the carols for our upcoming concerts, written especially for us by accompanist Paul Pike, and which we’d seen for only the first time two days earlier.”
Visitors to the session were given some specially commissioned keepsakes as mementos of the day.
With the next SING event approaching – it will take place at the Willows Holiday Park in Withernsea on Saturday, November 4 – Caroline was keen to emphasise the numerous health benefits of making music.
She said: “Singing supports mental health by releasing feelgood factor chemicals – endorphins – into the brain, which promote positive feelings. Think of it as a legal high!
“It also helps with breathing difficulties and heart problems by improving muscle control and increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. It develops a sense of belonging which fights feelings of isolation or loneliness. It enhances recall in people suffering from memory-loss or dementia. It lowers stress and anxiety and can even reduce the effects of emotional or physical pain. It improves speaking ability and communication skills.
“An increasing number of GPs now issue social prescriptions, which include singing, and it can also reduce snoring, so I’m sure many long-suffering partners will be informing their loved ones that they will definitely be going to our next SING event!”
People can come along to the session at the Willows on Saturday, November 4, any time between 1pm and 3pm, and men are very welcome too. Refreshments will be available.
Caroline urged people not to worry if they think they cannot sing. She added: “To paraphrase a memorable response from a certain late, great Eric Morecambe when Andre Previn criticised his piano playing: ‘We are singing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order…’”
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