A new NHS choir is already proving a hit with staff from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) who were joined by members of the public for the launch night at East Surrey Hospital.
SASH NHS Community Choir is open to everyone and the launch event saw volunteers, doctors, secretaries, nurses, social workers and people from the local community in full voice. The choir is a part of SASH active, an initiative offering staff a broader range of wellbeing opportunities, adding to other recent developments such as the new occupational therapy building that provides health and wellbeing support.
Sarah Wood, head of workforce relations, said: “The choir is a great environment for people to share their passion for singing, regardless of their ability, experience or profession. Singing is very good for wellbeing and the social aspect builds camaraderie.
“It would be great to have more members of the public joining in, they are very welcome.”
Dr Lola Adenuga took part in the choir’s opening session and said: “The sense of community the choir gives singers at all levels is fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed singing but haven’t been in a choir since university. I think it is a fantastic opportunity and it’s great to be a part of.”
The choir, launched with the support of local social enterprise, BRAVO, is set to make its first public performance at Choiroke – an annual event in June at the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill, which showcases some of the region’s best choirs.
Alix Lewer, Choir leader, said: “I’m excited about looking for arrangements for the choir to sing at The Harlequin. I was really impressed with the calibre of the singers, not just their individual voices but the fact that they sang together really well.
“Setting up and working with the choir is a dream job for me, it combines all my passions: music, the NHS, and bringing the local community together. Everyone has a song to sing – come along and find yours with us.”
The SASH NHS Community Choir performs at the Lecture Theatre, East Surrey Hospital, from 5pm-6.30pm on Thursdays. People interested in joining can register with Sarah Wood, head of workforce relations, on 01737 768511 x6500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous experience is not required, there are no auditions and a session costs just £3.
Vanessa Thorpe, from Merstham, is a secretary at East Surrey Hospital who had not sung in a group environment since school; summing up her first experience of the choir she said: “It makes you feel alive, gives you lots of energy – I’ll be singing in the car on the way home!”