Bristol choirs performing in the Brunel for Fresh Arts Festival

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Brunel building at Southmead Hospital Bristol is being filled with the sound of music as schoolchildren and local choirs perform during a three-day festival.

Ten choirs are among the performers getting involved in the Fresh Arts Festival at the hospital, which runs until 5pm on Saturday, October 18.

North Bristol NHS Trust is holding the community arts festival to give local people the chance to come in and see their new hospital, which opened in May.

Local choirs were invited to be part of the event, singing in public areas and wards inside the Brunel.

Horfield CEVC Primary School, who are among the choirs performing in the Fresh Arts Festival

Horfield CEVC Primary School, which is right next to the Southmead Hospital site, were the first to perform on the festival’s opening day.

Laurel Newnham, musical director of the choir, said: "The choir was thrilled to be part of the fresh arts festival this year. It was a meaningful opportunity for the children to engage with their community, in which the hospital plays a vital role.”

St Mary’s RC Primary School in Bradley Stoke and St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School will be performing in the hospital on Friday morning.

Headteacher at St Mary’s, Paula Marsh, said: “The children are really excited about singing at the new Southmead Hospital as they want to make people smile who may otherwise be having a difficult day.”

Among the other choirs performing at the hospital on Friday is the Royal Mail Choir, made up of postmen and women, delivery office and mail centre staff and managers from the Bristol area, which was formed in 2012 by Gareth Malone for the BBC Two series Sing While You Work.

Bristol's Royal Mail Choir outside Abbey Road Studios

Bristol Schools Chamber Choirs will also be performing on Friday, along with Original Sing.

On Saturday there will be performances by award-winning female chorus group Fascinating Rhythm and The Great Sea Choir, a folk-inspired group which was formed in 2012.

Director of The Great Sea Choir, Heg Taylor-Brignall, said: “We are delighted to be taking part is such an important and exciting event. Our heart is in the Bristol community so it feels great to be involved in this festival. All the singers are looking forward to it!”

There will also be performances from The Gasmen, a 10-strong group born from Bristol’s Gasworks Choir and Ponita, which was formed in 2012 from members of community choir People of Note who wanted to sing even more.

The choirs will be singing at locations around the Brunel, from the entrance to the emergency department, on wards and by cafes.

Throughout the festival there will also be performances from musicians involved with Superact, which already brings music into the hospital to brighten up the stay of patients.

The sound of melodeon and viola filled the entrance of the Brunel as the Fresh Arts Festival got underway on Thursday and She’Koyokh brought their Balkan and Klezmer music to the hospital with its fast-paced clarinet, guitar and violin.

On Friday they will be followed by Paul Hutchinson and Fiona Barrow on accordion and fiddle and jazz, Latin and pop from The York Trio.

For the final day of the festival Columbian singer-song-writer Camilo Menjura will be performing at different locations around the hospital along with The Paper Moon Band.

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