Ever since I started considering leaving my full-time role as Regional Manager at youth social action charity Envision to move fully into the world of music, one of my ambitions has been to set up a charity working with refugees and asylum seekers, and using singing as a way of bringing people together to combat loneliness and isolation and promote wellbeing. In 2017 that ambition began to gather momentum, and Voices Welcome finally emerged into the world. Or at least, secured itself a registered charity number (1173490) and some initial trustees and supporters.
Voices Welcome is currently working in partnership with Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers, delivering weekly singing sessions in its refugee drop in centres. You can read more about Voices Welcome, our work, and how to support us on our website.
With just a few days to go before my spring Soul Food singing residential, I’m delighted to announce that I will be hosting another singing residential at the wonderful Hazel Hill Wood this autumn.
Soul Food 3 will be taking place the weekend of Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th November 2017.
Think: crisp autumnal leaves, bonfires, cosy mugs of tea, misty mornings and sweet sweet harmonies.
Places will be available to book from Saturday 17th June. Places are limited and are expected to sell out, so if you are thinking of coming along, don’t dawdle!
The link to the booking form will be available from the singing residentials page of my website.
It’s that time of year when everyone starts thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Here are 7 good reasons why joining a choir should be one of yours.
1. Singing is relaxing – it’s a brilliant way to distract our minds from things that are making us stressed. When we sing we learn to breathe more deeply which is great for relaxation. Singing also releases oxytocin which relieves stress.
2. Banish the January Blues! Singing releases endorphins which are ‘happy hormones’. You’ll have a spring in your step for the rest of the week!
3. Learn how to sing in harmony, improve your confidence singing, and get better at it the more you do it! Every week we’ll start with a bit of vocal development technique and then move on to learning and singing some songs in harmony. You don’t need to have any previous experience or training, or be able to read music, or classify yourself as a “good singer”. You definitely don’t have to audition!
4. All my choirs are flexible. You don’t have to be able to come every week, or commit to signing up to a whole term up front. You can do this if you like, or you can come along on a drop-in basis, as much or as little as you’re able to. You’ll always be welcome, whether you come every week, or just once a term.
5. Meet a whole load of friendly people who live in your local area. Joining a choir is a great way to make new friends. And we usually always pop down the road to the pub for a drink and a chat at the end of the session.
6. It’s good for your health. Singing is an aerobic activity so it increases the amount of oxygen in our blood, exercises muscle groups in the upper body, increases lung capacity, is good for the heart and has been shown to boost the immune system. It’s good for the brain too – it can enhance your memory, concentration and awareness.
7. Your first session is FREE! Totally 100% absolutely free. Nothing to lose.
Convinced? Check out the details of my choirs and when we meet and come along and sing with us!