York Choir Festival celebrates inclusivity and friendship across the generations

23 February 2020

Joseph Rowntree Theatre’s York Community Choir Festival brings people together to share the joy of singing. Entering its 5th year on 7th March 2020 the festival will consist of 7 concerts, each featuring at least 4 different choirs.

This year it is celebrating the inclusivity of making music in groups of all ages and bringing the generations together.

Choirs are coming from Easingwold, Garrowby, Stamford Bridge, Knaresborough, Tadcaster i as well as from York itself.

The York charity Musical Connections combats loneliness & isolation in older people by running regular music sessions in community locations across York and their forty strong pensioner’s choir The Rolling Tones will be taking part for the first time alongside choirs from Wigginton Primary School, Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, the secondary age choir of Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, and the “younger” adults of Dunnington Community Choir in a special matinee on 14th March.

Another group of primary school age, appropriately named Starlings, from the Hempland area of York will sing in the Friday concert. Secondary school age choirs taking part are Tutti Amici and Stagecoach Academy Choir, who have both excelled in previous festivals and two excellent Huntington School Choirs will appear for the first time.

Stagecoach Academy Choir
Stagecoach Academy Choir

Well known performer and soloist Jessa Liversidge who runs her “Singing for All” sessions every week in Clements Hall on South Bank and also in Easingwold said:

Many singers who attend my groups testify that their lives have been transformed by our weekly sessions of informal singing, tea, cake and good company.

Looking around the room at the happy faces and seeing everyone leave afterwards with a spring in their step is evidence enough for me of the wonderful power of a good old sing.

Robert Wilkinson Primary
Robert Wilkinson Primary

We also have in York workplaces with choirs that employers encourage as being good for morale, including Aviva’s Vivace! choir. York Hospital’s Wellbeing Choir combines staff, volunteers and patients in one lively group in weekly sessions. Vivace!, will open the festival and the hospital choir will appear on the last night.

Festival Organiser Graham Mitchell, a trustee of the theatre, said:

I am particularly pleased that we can include both young and old and bring the generations together in the same concerts. The benefits of singing have been widely researched and findings show that communal singing has far reaching benefits for health, happiness and general wellbeing.

We are so lucky to have such a variety of choirs in and around York, most of which welcome new members with open arms – no need to be able to read music, just a desire to join in and sing!

Tickets are now on sale from Joseph Rowntree Theatre Box Office, with huge savings when you buy 5 or more tickets.

Credit to Michael Oakes for those For Stagecoach Academy Senior Choir and Dunnington Community Choir images.

This is the 5th annual festival and all proceeds are donated to Joseph Rowntree Theatre Ltd Charity No 1098329 to help maintain and improve facilities at the unique community venue.

A full list of who will be singing when is on the theatre website josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk


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