One of the important considerations when we're planning our activities is to try and give members new, inspirational and hopefully exciting challenges and experiences and thus 2014 saw us enter our first Music Festival: though not victorious on this occasion our enthusiastic performance did sufficiently impress organizers to warrant an unprecedented invitation to perform at their Showcase concert the following week - a privilege normally reserved for the winners from each class; sadly prior commitments meant we were unable to accept this invitation but we were extremely honoured to have been asked.
This year certainly saw us raise the bar in terms of our undertakings: we travelled to Rossendale to perform at an event to raise money for Cancer Research UK – 'Relay For Life; did a concert for the Bolton Branch of Parkinson's UK; entertained visitors to Bolton's Food and Drink Festival with our appetising menu of songs; provided entertainment for a private function; enjoyed the success of another 'Jingle Bell Sing-A-Long' concert and were privileged to appear at Manchester Cathedral in the 'Christmas Celebration' of Greater Manchester Police – an awesome experience considered by many members to be the performance highlight of their year.
In between appearances we managed to squeeze in a few other activities – we undertook a Members' Survey: our Chair was nominated for a National Diversity Award: the ladies of the Choir were treated to a Masterclass courtesy of the Charity 'Look Good Feel Better', which focused on makeup for the stage and screen: we invited our guest Choir members from 'Jingle Bell Sing-A-Long' to join us for supper and relived the wonderful experience we'd shared together: held our first social event – a delicious meal with great company and lots of laughs: a Performance Workshop saw us focus on stagecraft and vocal techniques, with a complimentary buffet to keep everyone energized and later in the year we held our annual Singing Workshop – an opportunity to focus on our festive programme: we held our first Annual General Meeting: took part in filming for the Community Channel's 'Brilliant Britain – Brilliant England' series, which aired in April / May 2015 and recorded 'Inspirations' – our first CD, in Studios where stars like One Direction and New Order had reputedly sung before us; a great, fun experience and an invaluable learning curve.
During 2014 we were delighted to see our membership numbers rise to 46, taking us ever closer to our optimum number of 70.
There are currently 14 individual tumour groups represented in the Choir: people can join at any point in their cancer journey whether newly diagnosed and in treatment and indeed this year someone came to us one day post diagnosis; living with cancer as a life-limiting condition where it is known that their illness cannot be cured or cancer survivors, regardless of the time elapsed since diagnosis – to date the record is 55years post diagnosis! It's entirely at the discretion of the individual just how much information they choose to share with other members about themselves and their cancer journey.
This year, as doubtless in others to come, some of our members have sadly lost their hard-fought battles and in memory of these brave, wonderfully inspirational individuals we say:
'thank you for the music dear friends: we treasure the times we've shared together.'