SkyWave Radio UK

Your Station Your Way!

Current track

Title

Artist

Current show

All The Hits!

00:01 23:59

Current show

All The Hits!

00:01 23:59


Preston choir lifts spirits and boosts mental health in the city – and it’s looking for new recruits

Written by on October 17, 2021

A Preston choir which has just returned to face-to-face singing is helping to boost mental health in the city.

Preston People’s Choir performed at Preston Wellfest to mark World Mental Health Day at Preston Flag Market last Saturday.

The choir, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, was thrilled to step into the spotlight again for the event, along with other local community groups and performers.

Preston Wellfest saw a host of Lancashire organisations running stalls and activities aimed at lifting spirits, as well as providing workshops and support to anyone in need.

READ MORE:‘Greatly loved’ army vet took his own life after mental health battle

Choir members say it was their first major event since the pandemic, after they had recently started meeting up for rehearsals again.

The group, led by Moira Hill, has around 40 members, is a natural voice choir and usually sings in four part harmony.

However, members are keen to stipulate that its doors are open to all new members, highlighting that there is absolutely no requirement to read music, or to undertake any sort of audition.

Member Rachel Coupe, 50, who has been with the choir for nearly five years, said: “Saturday’s event was incredibly busy, and the atmosphere was more like it used to be pre-Covid. There were a lot of interesting stalls and lovely smells of food, and there was a samba band.

“We are a natural voice choir, and use a mixture of music from around the world – and traditional folk songs to pop songs.

“It was really fantastic to get back to normal because during Covid, a lot of us really missed the social side.

“We don’t perform for money, we do it for fun, sometimes we sing to promote social and community events, but we are not a professional choir.”

Passionate about the mental health benefits of singing, Rachel, of Fulwood, says being in the choir has helped her over the last 18 months.

She added: “Singing together lifts spirits and helps you bond with the other people who do it. On my own, I can hold a tune, but I’ve not got a fantastic voice, yet when we come together, we are one. We are much greater than the sum of our parts.”

We’re here to help

You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health.

Here are some groups you can contact:

Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email jo@samaritans.org, in confidence.

Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill.

PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141.

Depression Alliance: A charity for people with depression. No helpline, but it offers useful resources and links to other information.

Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit.

Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There is a helpline: 0800 58 58 58 or visit the website.

And she is urging anyone interested to get in touch.

She added: “We are not going to test you to see if you can sing, as we believe that anyone with a voice can sing. We welcome people from all backgrounds. It is fantastic for mental health, it gets people together and there’s a sort of camaraderie in all learning the songs together when we practise. It’s something to look forward to.”

Preston People’s Choir rehearses on Tuesdays in the Media Factory at UCLan at 7pm.

For more details, visit the Facebook page or contact Hilda Harkins by email: hilda@harkins.plus.com.

Download the LancsLive app for free on iPhone here and Android here.

To keep updated, follow LancsLive on Facebook and @LiveLancs on Twitter.

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on lancslive@reachplc.com.

Get all the latest news, sport and what’s on stories sent to your inbox daily with the LancsLive newsletter here.