People with cancer invited to join choir

Portsmouth Singing Group
Portsmouth Singing Group

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Singing and friendship make us feel great so it stands to reason that standing side by side with companions and joining forces in song is an excellent therapy.

That’s the thought behind a Wessex Cancer Trust drive to form a choir for patients, families, friends and carers.

The Portsmouth Singing Group launches on Friday, April 19, and will be held every Friday at Portsmouth Watersports Centre.

Run by tenor and singing coach Simon Long, it is free for people with cancer, carers and families.

‘When we’re singing, endorphins are released in the body and they give us a great sense of wellbeing,’ explains Simon.

‘And it also gives people with cancer and their carers or families a chance to get out and do something together. Hopefully it will be a sort of break away together.’

The introduction of the Portsmouth group follows the successful launch of a choir by Wessex Cancer Trust in Southampton.

‘This one will be different because it’s unique to Portsmouth,’ says Nichola Jacobs, grants and patient support manager at the trust.

‘But what’s happened in Southampton has been very encouraging. It started small but we’ve worked up to about 30 people and it’s continuing to grow.’

The Southampton choir has performed at a couple of concerts but the idea is to just go along and enjoy the weekly sessions.

‘The Portsmouth venue is fantastic,’ says Simon. ‘What could be better than meeting other people on a Friday, looking out across the water, chatting about what’s you’re doing at the weekend and singing?’

The semi-professional performer has worked as a singing coach with a wide range of people including children who have asthma and older people with Alzheimer’s.

‘It’s a great thing to focus on, as well as giving you a mood boost. Learning to sing also acts as a great breathing exercise and is good for posture and circulation,’ he says.

Simon hopes there will be some public performances, but emphasises there will be no pressure on individuals. The idea is to enjoy the sessions.

The April 19 launch begins at 7pm. Either turn up on the night at Portsmouth Watersports Centre, Eastern Road, Portsmouth, PO3 5LY, or call patient support charity Wessex Cancer Trust on (023) 8051 6570.