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The Saint Francis Hospice Choir sing their song: they practiced all year long

The Saint Francis Hospice Choir isn't just for Christmas — they give our patients an all-year-round cheer.
John Morris 2
It’s been a busy 12 months for our ensemble of singers. As well as rehearsing for the festive season, we heard their dulcet tones at our 35th birthday celebrations in the summer and Light up a Life this autumn. This Christmas, the choristers have sung carols at Frankie's Festive Fun Run and our Christmas Market. They've also been lifting our patients with their angelic voices on our ward and in Pemberton Place — our day unit and social hub.

There's room in the Choir for more members. Don't worry if your only experience of singing is in the shower and you're convinced that it sounds like someone's strangling the cat — you will learn from the best. John Morris joined St. Andrews Church in Upminster as a choirboy in 1953 when he was seven years old. After retiring from over 40 years teaching music at Dury Falls School in Upminster, he stepped up to the plate and took on the role as Director of our Choir.

"When I ask people if they'd like to join, they immediately put up the barriers," he said. "They will say: 'You don't want to hear me sing', but if you're around people who do sing, then you'll soon gain confidence and learn how to blend.”

John is also in the London Philharmonic Orchestra Choir and regularly performs at prestigious London venues such and the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

"Singing brings people together — socially and actively" John declared. "When we work together to produce an arrangement, we get a real kick out singing and hearing the final product. Music is good for the soul."

Rehearsals take place every Tuesday at Pemberton Place. The Choir's set list covers the raucous rock of Bill Haley & His Comets, the bubble gum pop of The Beatles, and the Californian sun-drenched harmonies of The Beach Boys — as well as bringing things right up to date.

If you'd like to find out how you can become part of the Saint Francis Hospice Choir, please get in touch with Rita Gersh at ripa2012@hotmail.com

Pointing the way: John Morris directs