All members of the Isolation Choir

22 April 2020

Isolation Choir Project formed to keep community connected

Members of singing for health and wellbeing groups in Kent and Medway – and music professionals across the country – have come together to form a community-based Isolation choir during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Isolation Choir includes members of several groups that began as research projects run by the University's Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.

The Isolation Choir project works collaboratively with Music 4 Wellbeing, Canterbury Cantata Trust, Sing to Beat and Living Lively - four organisations that stress the positive impact on health and wellbeing that regular group singing can deliver and continue to build on the early studies on singing and health conducted by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre.

For more than a decade the Sidney De Haan Research Centre has been researching the potential value of music, and other participative arts activities, in the promotion of wellbeing and health of individuals and communities.

Phil Self, founder of the Isolation Choir Project, said: “I usually work with several singing groups throughout the week and like all other social activities these groups have all stopped. 

“We work with a range of people some of who are dealing with very specific health conditions like COPD, Parkinson’s and people living with forms of dementia and other neurological conditions as well as people with a range of other mental and physical conditions or difficulties.

A group of singers from the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health A group of singers from the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health

“Singing is a means to alleviate specific symptoms as well as help to improve general health and wellbeing.“

They have recently posted their first collaborative video, with more than 50 voices singing Wild Mountain Thyme.

"It is a privilege to continue to communicate with people affected by Parkinson's and other degenerative conditions through music at a time when the Covid-19 virus crisis is prohibiting group activities.

“We're seeing such determination from members in our groups and our singing-for-health practitioners to find ways to connect against all the odds.

"This surely is testament to the human drive to create music together; to harness the power of music to help foster wellbeing and to overcome the challenge of our current situation."

Dr Patricia Vella Burrows, Principal Research Fellow

The choir gives people the opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians around the country. Each new song has a series of learning videos where the melody or arranged parts are sung clearly and participants can choose which part to sing, pop on some headphones and film themselves singing along.  All the parts are then edited together to create a united chorus.

Find out more on Facebook and YouTube.

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Emma Grafton-Williams
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E: emma.grafton-williams@canterbury.ac.uk
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Last edited: 15/01/2020 11:19:00