Postcode Lottery Backs Sing Viva – Derbyshire Carers Choir

Sing Viva – the choir made up of local carers have won the support from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The choir is run by Derby-based Sinfonia Viva - the East Midlands’ only professional orchestra – as part of its 35th anniversary programme which has aimed to enable more people than ever to experience creative music making.

Sing Viva was established earlier this year with funds from Bupa UK Foundation and the Concertina Fund. The £14,460 funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery has secured the choir’s future for another year and future plans include expanding it to other areas in Derbyshire and beyond.

Sing Viva now has around 30 regular members, who have felt the benefits of regularly meeting and performing as part of a group.

The choir attend monthly rehearsals at the Voicebox in Foreman Street, where the creative and supportive environment has led to lasting relationships that have cemented the choir’s bond.

This bond has been crucial, as since their formation earlier in the year, the choir have performed at some incredibly prestigious events including The Hannells Darley Park Concert and at Manchester Cathedral.

The group’s success is also thanks to the high quality of the choir’s leaders, including award-winning choral conductor David Lawrence and Stapleford-based music teacher and choir leader Caroline Swaby.

The commitment to quality performances is what is increasingly growing Sing Viva’s well-earned reputation. Performances combine heartfelt music with a highly energetic stage presence, with each choir member experiencing the life changing feeling of singing live on stage as a respected performer.

Among the choir members is Gill Fennell from Derby who works full time as well as being a carer for her 12-year-old son who has a rare genetic syndrome which means that he has learning disabilities similar to severe autism; as well as her mum who has dementia.

Gill said: “I was part of a choir when I was younger and loved singing but it has gone by the wayside over recent years.

“I was very keen to join Sing Viva as it was the perfect opportunity to take up singing again without too much commitment and have some positive ‘me’ time outside work and home.

“It is also good to meet other people who are caring for friends and family and face the similar challenges and pressures.”

Fellow Choir member Stuart is delighted about the additional funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery: “It’s been such fun being in my first choir. Singing is so uplifting and to sing with such nice people is a highlight every month.

“The choir leaders are brilliant and supportive. I am thrilled and excited we will be able to continue singing together for another year.”

Sinfonia Viva Education Manager Marianne Barraclough concluded: “We are delighted that Sing Viva has won further recognition with this funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

“There are a significant number of people locally who are carers for family members from children with special needs to elderly parents and many more who are furthermore juggling work and caring responsibilities.

“There is widespread recognition that, as well as practical support, carers can feel socially isolated.  They greatly benefit from the opportunity to take a well-deserved break and enjoy a group activity.

“Viva has a national reputation for our education and community work and Sing Viva – the Derbyshire Carers’ Choir has been a natural progression for us as an Orchestra and meets the needs of an often hidden section of our local community.

“It is an opportunity to join like-minded people and enjoy the chance to try something new together in a relaxed and supportive environment. 

“Singing together is proven to be an excellent way of boosting self-esteem and confidence, releasing pain and stress-relieving endorphins and being a part of a team that is creating something.

 “New members are always welcome to join our monthly sessions at the Voicebox in Forman Street, Derby. People don’t need to have any previous choral experience and David and Caroline are fantastic at helping people to find their voice.”

For more information about Sing Viva, please contact Andrew Nesbitt at Sinfonia Viva, Tel: 01332 207602 or email

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