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Two Events at the Cathedral Explore the Power of Music to Transform Lives (posted 28 March 2017)

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Two events at Chichester Cathedral explored the power of music to transform lives:

600 primary school children raised their 'Voices for Freedom'... and Carers learnt how music can support dementia sufferers in 'Sing Healthy, Play Happy'

Voices for Freedom
Voices for Freedom

The power of music to enhance lives and bring people together was the message behind two unique and special events held at Chichester Cathedral during March...

Young Voices Festival - Voices for Freedom!

On the 10th and 17th March the Cathedral welcomed over six hundred Year 5 and 6 local primary school pupils for a Young Voices Festival - an exciting collaboration between Chichester Cathedral and West Sussex Music Service.  The Festival was titled Voices for Freedom and included songs from different cultures, all exploring themes of human rights and social justice.  The children filled the Cathedral Nave and were taught to sing the songs by Emily Barden of West Sussex Music and Charles Harrison, Master of the Cathedral Choristers.  The Cathedral Choristers also helped to teach the songs, singing alongside the primary school pupils, who travelled from across the county.  Local participating schools included: Central CE Primary School, Oakwood School, East Wittering Community Primary and The March CE Primary. 

The children finished the afternoon by performing to an audience of over two hundred people who heard them raise the Cathedral's roof with six evocative songs, each chosen to promote discussion about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The songs were: No Wars Will Stop Us Singing; Freedom!; I Wish I Knew How it Feels to be Free; Long Since in Egypt's Plenteous Land; Wayfaring Stranger; and Dona Nobis Pacem.

Becky, a teacher at Amberley CE First School, was full of praise for the event: 'The pupils have gained a better understanding of human rights and are more aware of the current issues in the world as we had discussed these during our sessions.  They are more confident when singing and recognise that singing is 'cool'.  The choristers were also a great example of high quality singing!'

Sing Healthy Play Happy Workshop
Sing Healthy Play Happy Workshop

'Sing Healthy, Play Happy' Workshop:

On Wednesday 22nd March the Cathedral hosted a unique music training session called Sing Healthy, Play Happy.  This illuminating session was attended by staff from many of Chichester's residential homes, along with local health and care professionals, and carers of relatives living with dementia.  The session was part of the Cathedral's dementia friendly learning programme and was led by 'Open Strings Music', a Brighton based organisation which provides diverse opportunities for people to connect and create music together.  The Sing Healthy, Play Happy workshop provided an introduction to running dementia-friendly inclusive music sessions - the participants explored songs, sound-making and rhythm as well as practical considerations when delivering music workshops for people with dementia.  This unusual workshop was also a fantastic opportunity for participants to network and learn from each other about how they could work creatively with music in their care settings - one participant commented: 'Today's training has made me feel more confident to use music as a way to connect meaningfully with people living with dementia'.

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