Brummies wanted for new dementia choir

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Music charity Services For Education has partnered with BBC WM and Wolverhampton City Council to launch a choir made up of people who have been affected by dementia in some way.

Following six weeks of rehearsals in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 100 people from across the West Midlands will come together in a pre-concert performance in the foyer of Birmingham Symphony Hall for the charity’s annual Youth Proms on Monday 9 July.

The choir, which aims to raise awareness around dementia, will be directed by Emma Wilkinson-Clark, who has been a vocal coach with Services For Education’s Music Service for over 12 years. Much of her time outside of work is spent directing community choirs in Birmingham.

Nicola Walker, who has recently retired from the Music Service having been the Head of Guitar and Keyboard, will be the accompanist for the choir.

The BBC WM Dementia Choir is part of the BBC’s Make a Difference scheme and has seen significant celebrity endorsement, including Eastenders actor John Partridge, whose mother Bridget had dementia and Russell Grant, who lost his much-loved nanny Alice to the condition.

The announcement follows figures from Public Health England that reveal 3.2 per 10,000 people in Birmingham have been diagnosed with dementia.

Ciaran O’Donnell, head of the Music Service at Services For Education, said: “We’re really pleased to be collaborating with BBC WM on such a worthwhile project.

“It can be difficult for anyone that has been affected by dementia, so this choir is great opportunity for people to come together and share experiences through music and singing.  

“We are committed to providing people across Birmingham and the West Midlands a route to the highest quality of music instruction and performance. I look forward to seeing the final performance.”

Carolle Forde Garcia, senior producer at BBC Make a Difference, said: “I’m really excited about this project and hope that the choir will help raise the profile of a disease that affects so many people.

“If you’ve been affected by dementia we want to hear from you. You could be caring for a partner or parent, maybe you’ve lost someone close to you because of this disease or you’re living with dementia yourself. This is simply a great chance to get together and sing your hearts out!”

Anyone interested in signing up can email makeadifference@bbc.co.uk or call 0121 567 6016/0121 567 6040.

For further information please contact hollie.druce@bbc.co.uk

To purchase tickets for Services For Education’s Youth Proms, please visit https://www.thsh.co.uk/event/services-for-education-youth-proms-2018