Folkestone Singing for Health started life as a research choir in 2009, as part of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.
However, in 2012 we became a self-funding, independent singing group open to anyone interested in using singing to support, maintain and improve their health.li
We currently have around 100 members, many of whom are living with chronic health problems such as COPD (a lung disease), asthma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, depression and other mental health conditions – and most come to the choir with a degree of trepidation, having either never sung before or feeling that they’ve lost their ability to sing through ill health. Any anxiety is soon forgotten as the welcoming atmosphere and uplifting songs raise spirits and encourage participation.
We always spend time warming up vocally and physically before enjoying a range of songs chosen to develop our respiratory strength, breath control, articulation and stamina.
Many of our members testify to the power of singing in helping them cope with their health, such as feeling less breathless and generally physically stronger, improved speech and vocal strength, being able to cope better with chronic pain and feeling less troubled by depression and anxiety – and for some it has proven invaluable when grieving the loss of a loved one.
Who is the singing group for?
We welcome anyone who wishes to enjoy singing. No audition is necessary and all are welcome to attend a free taster session to try out the group. We are self-funding via member subscription, currently £3 per session paid in termly blocks.
Some members attend to help manage a specific health condition - for example chronic lung disease, mental health problems, pain control, Parkinson's - while others come simply to boost their general wellbeing. Some have sung in choirs previously while others have never sung before, and commonly some feel they've lost their ability to sing as a consequence of a health condition or side effect from certain medication.
We enjoy close links with other singing for health groups and usually meet once or twice a year at joint performances both locally and further afield.