The Performing Arts Programme launched 2017 by really raising the roof and helped kick start the year for a lot of staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The first ever staff Community Choir began in January and despite (surprising) London tube strikes and (unsurprising) wet weather an amazing number of staff made the effort to come along.
It was important that everyone could take part and so we were clear on the fact that no singing experience was needed to join. This was because there was an expert hand to guide the neophyte singers in their first steps. After just a couple of sessions there were already some impressive results as our video proves.
The benefits of singing are many and proven: singing is a natural stress reliever and can help reduce blood pressure. It enhances mental awareness, concentration and memory and it can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by working on your circulatory system. It can also help develop healthier breathing patterns which is useful for people with respiratory problems such as asthma. It’s fun and social and releases endorphins making you feel happy! Member Alice, a student nurse, says: “I’ve never looked forward to Monday’s more! Singing and making friends getting me through final year stresses!”
Led by the established international choir leader and vocal coach Mike King throughout the weeks, the group began to master intricate four-part harmonies and was able to perform five songs.
Our first block of sessions of the staff choir has now finished with a joyous mini performance for friends and family. We had over 50 people attend 7 sessions with an average of 35+ each session and they came from right all across the Trust –the community services, all three hospitals and across all staffing disciplines: clinicians, Allied Health Professionals, Essentia, support, admin, students, volunteers and scientific staff.
But don’t believe for one minute that this was it! We will be running another five sessions over April and May and we now have a name for the choir as well. From now on the choir will be called Trust Harmonix and it is particularly looking for male singers or those to-be.
We have other events lined up for the choir in May and June, for example for the pan-London arts & health festival Creativity & Wellbeing Week. For now, I leave you with a short clip of the medley highlights from the final.