Patients in harmony with launch of Christie choir

Press Release Posted 12 November 2015

Patients at The Christie have struck a positive note with the launch of a new choir.

Up to 40 patients, staff and family members meet up fortnightly at the world-famous cancer centre to rehearse and foster a sense of wellbeing and harmony.

The Rhythm of Life choir is the brainchild of nurse Ros Fox who said the singing sessions aimed to improve mental health among patients and create a feeling of togetherness.

Ros, a breast cancer specialist, has also enlisted the help of renowned Manchester-based composer and musical director Carol Donaldson to lead the choir.

Ros has sung in choirs at various times in her life and said: "We wanted the patients to feel the rhythm of life, to feel the powerful beat, to feel the tingle in their fingers and feet!

"Singing in a group is a really good way of creating togetherness, the feeling of being part of something, and of feeling that one belongs. It's also incredibly empowering to sing as one in that way.

"Those sorts of emotions are all the more important when you're going through the frightening and often isolating experience of cancer. Singing has been shown to improve overall wellbeing of patients and our group seem to be no exception."

All age groups are welcome to join the choir, and its oldest member is 83-year-old Enid Davies, from Heaton Moor. Enid joined the choir when her breast cancer returned after 13 years in remission.

Singing had been her hobby for many years and she had been a member of an award-winning ladies' barbershop chorus called the Liberty Belles. But it was only when her son picked up a publicity leaflet at The Christie's reception desk that she decided to join with a friend.

Enid said: "We were made welcome, and soon Carol had us stretching and doing correct breathing in preparation for singing. Carol has so much energy and had us all singing in nearly perfect harmony within the first 15 minutes of our first choir meeting.

"Carol has an enormous amount of musical ability and seems to bring voices together with so much love and passion. We sing songs from all over the world in a cappella harmony. "Going to this choir makes me happy and I am revitalised. I want to keep going to the Rhythm of Life choir as long as I can, to sing and make new friends."

Ros added that the feedback from members had been overwhelmingly positive and the choir had secured funding from The Christie to continue for another six months.

Choir members are also now writing their own songs, drawing on their experiences to describe their cancer journeys. If you would like to join the choir please contact Ros Fox at Rosalyn.Fox@christie.nhs.uk

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