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A community choir for the Eden Valley has helped BBC Radio Cumbria launch a nationwide singing project – and became the first choir to sing live from the Carlisle studio.
Middle Eden Voices, a community choir set up by musician Barbara Gilbertson in 2007 is open to anyone regardless of their musical ability or age. They were invited by be singing live on BBC Radio Cumbria’s Sunday Breakfast Show with Richard Corrie to help launch a collaboration between Radio 4, BBC Religion, Radio Darama and BBC Local Radio.
The BBC is inviting the nation to be part of a singing revolution. And Sunday was the launch of the build up to The People’s Passion – Sing it with Passion.
As part of The BBC People's Passion, the BBC has commissioned a new work with music composed by Sasha Johnson Manning and lyrics by the poet Michael Symmons Roberts which will be performed by choirs across the country at Easter 2012.
And Richard played the piece for the first time on Radio Cumbria on Sunday, giving the choir with their leader Barbara Gilbertson and piano accompanist Jane Bainbridge the first opportunity to hear the work they will be learning in the coming months as part of The People’s Passion.
Barbara said: “We are very pleased to have been invited to sing by Radio Cumbria and be part of this national event and very grateful to Amanda Holliday of Lakeland Music store in Penrith for the loan of the electric piano for this performance.”
Amanda said: "I was delighted to be able to help and support a local choir."
BBC presenter Richard said: “As far as we know, Radio Cumbria were the only BBC local radio station to have a choir perform live to launch The People’s Passion.
“And Radio Cumbria’s Sunday Breakfast has one of the largest audiences across the network on a Sunday morning with a third of those able to recievie the station listening. And we were delighted they could come along and sing for use, especially so early on a Sunday morning.
“It is the first time we have had a choir in the studio to perform live, and the most people I have ever had in my studio at one time.”
Barbara set up Middle Eden Voices after working with the Middle Eden Small Schools group, creating Young Eden Voices. She took the idea to the next level, inviting parents, secondary school students and anyone in the local community to come along to form Middle Eden Voices Choir.
Now more than 30 people of all ages meet regularly at Long Marton Community Primary School to be part of the choir.
Barbara said: “My work with groups of small schools highlighted how music is a catalyst to bringing people together, whatever their age. And music has a role to play in helping children reach their full potential both socially and academically.
“The Community Choir is a prime example of how singing can bring all ages together to produce a positive experience for all involved.
“It is now very exciting to start work on a newly commissioned piece as part of this national event. It will be a new and exciting challenge for us.”
Middle Eden Voices meet at Long Marton Community Primary School, near Appleby, Cumbria on Wednesday evenings during term-time. More details about the choir are now available on their website www.middleedenvoices.webs.com , their facebook page and they can be followed on Twitter @middleedenvoice.