Hitting the high notes for the Hospice
When Rita joined the Hospice as a volunteer, she couldn't have dreamed of the success she would have with the choir she founded.
I joined Saint Francis Hospice as a volunteer in April 2009 working on the Reception Desk with a member of staff each Thursday afternoon. It has always been one of the highlights of my week so I have missed it so much in the past year. The Reception desk is a great place to be as there is always someone to chat to but with so many people now working from home, we have lost some of the contact and camaraderie.
Having sung in choirs throughout my life, I decided in 2011 to approach the CEO and trustees with the concept of forming a hospice choir. I was delighted when they wholeheartedly approved of the idea. Our ‘choir family’ took shape with our first rehearsal at the hospice in April 2012 and since that time we have sung at many fund raising events as well as Remembrance services.
Our Zoom meetings this past year have been really enjoyable but we are all looking forward so much to getting back to the ‘real thing’.
Highlights of the choir's history
One of my many highlights took place in 2016 when members of our choir were invited to be part of a newly formed choir from hospices across London to record the song ‘The Living Years’ with Paul Carrack from Mike and the Mechanics. After several rehearsals, a ‘flash mob’ in Waterloo Station and being invited for an interview on Essex Radio and much publicity, the ‘finale’ was to record the song at famous Abbey Road Studios.
The CD was released in time for Christmas and incredibly reached the charts at No.1 - albeit for one day! The following year we had the opportunity to take part in a charity recording of the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ for the ‘Choirs With Purpose’ which was featured on a CD called ‘Stand Together’.
I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to be the founder and co-ordinator of the hospice choir and together with all the lovely choristers, past and present, we have been able to raise in excess of £30,000. My grateful thanks go to everyone especially John Morris our musical director and Ray Schofield our accompanist who have contributed their valuable expertise voluntarily from the beginning.
My time with Saint Francis Hospice has and continues to be one of the most rewarding, exciting and fulfilling times in my life which I am so grateful for.