Three singing groups to become one voice

The Norrie Miller Studio in Perth Concert Hall will be hosting a final celebratory concert on Wednesday (today), which will see singing groups from Forfar, Dundee and Perth come together and sing as one voice.

More than 30 people from across Tayside who are living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) will be singing together at the Norrie Miller Studio to celebrate their experience of an innovative ten week project called Singing for COPD.

The ten-week programme is run by Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) in association with NHS Tayside. It focuses on the benefits of singing, combining the practical benefits of breathing exercises with control which are both so important for helping people living with COPD to self manage their condition. This is one of a range of art programmes for people with long term conditions currently being delivered by THAT.

COPD is a lung disease characterized by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing resulting in severe breathing difficulties. People with COPD often adapt their lifestyles in a bid to reduce breathlessness - but keeping as fit as possible is important and the physical act of singing can help people with COPD to improve their breathing.

The project embraces all of these elements and combines it with the practical benefits of breathing exercises and control that is needed for both singing and COPD self management. Today (Wednesday) participants from the three groups will come together for the first time and perform for family, friends and healthcare professionals a selection of songs which they have been learning over the past ten weeks. Included in their repertoire will be traditional Scottish, pop and gospel songs.

Karine Neill, THAT Development Officer, said: “Singing for COPD has been commissioned as part of an Awards for All funded Creativity and Wellbeing Project run by Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust.

It was very clear from our research that singing could be beneficial for people with COPD and we hoped that this new singing project would encourage others to support it and people with the condition to participate.”

The project has been given tremendous support from NHS Tayside’s specialist COPD nurses and physiotherapists, from Horsecross Arts in Perth and The Wighton Centre Dundee as well as from the singing coaches and the volunteer support.”

“We have a group of people who, as a result of participating in the project, now see singing as an important and very enjoyable way of exercising their breathing. They have received real health improvements from taking part and quite a few want to join other mainstream singing groups as a way of keeping this going.

“Today they will get to see how each of the other groups has developed. They will also multiply the power of group singing by all joining together to create one collective sound, which is hugely satisfying even if your voice is not the strongest.”