Sing For Your Life coming to East Devon

PUBLISHED: 17:25 23 February 2009 | UPDATED: 08:34 18 June 2010

Well known as a conductor, lecturer and editor, especially in the field of opera, but also, until recently, as musical director of Sidmouth Choral Society, Peter Clarke from West Hill has taken on the task of introducing Silver Song Clubs to East Devon.

Well known as a conductor, lecturer and editor, especially in the field of opera, but also, until recently, as musical director of Sidmouth Choral Society, Peter Clarke from West Hill has taken on the task of introducing Silver Song Clubs to East Devon. These are run by the Sing For Your Life organization established four years ago to improve the quality of life, health and well-being of older people through participation in musical activities.

The Silver Song model is a unique and protected model of participatory music-making driven by the latest developments in the field of the arts and health.

Silver Song Clubs are not passive and do not involve sitting and listening to others performing.

Instead everyone joins in with a range of musical activities including not only singing, but also playing percussion instruments such as hand chimes, with gentle chair based exercises. Sessions are fun and the music is familiar.

Many songs are chosen because of their power to evoke memories. Carers and family members are encouraged to attend and most people leave with a smile on their face and a song on their lips.

These clubs are suitable for community centres, day care centres and hospitals and a range of packages is also available for residential care homes.

There is no charge and most sessions include refreshments.

A typical session lasts for about 90 minutes, delivered by a trained facilitator supported by volunteers from sources such as local music societies, choirs and senior citizens' forums. Facilitators are chosen because of their ability to inspire people to join together and sing.

Peter Clarke says: "This is an important service to the older members of our community and I am personally delighted to be responsible for bringing it to the South West Region"

A substantial lottery grant has been awarded to Sing For Your Life to establish clubs in the area, the first of which will be held in Exeter.

It is hoped that soon one will also be formed in Ottery St. Mary.

The organisation is always looking for both facilitators and volunteers, so anyone interested should contact Peter Clarke on 01404 814580.

John Dalton

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