Care home choir will hit the high notes at major venue

Residents at a care home in Ponteland have been re-discovering the joy of music.

And after enjoying a number of singing sessions, the group from Ponteland Manor will be performing at the Sage Gateshead venue next week.

Music student Cathryn Anderson (front right) is leading singing sessions with up to 20 residents and staff at Ponteland Manor Care Home and she is joined by Lynne Niven-Activities Co-ordinator (front left). 'REF 0105140646

Music student Cathryn Anderson (front right) is leading singing sessions with up to 20 residents and staff at Ponteland Manor Care Home and she is joined by Lynne Niven-Activities Co-ordinator (front left). 'REF 0105140646

Degree student Cathryn Anderson, who is from Ponteland, is midway through a ten-week programme at the home off Thornhill Road.

Up to 20 residents, including one aged 103, sing a wide variety of songs at the Thursday afternoon sessions – from Edelweiss’and You are my Sunshine to Waters of Tyne and The Blaydon Races.

They are joined by some of the staff and a few family members of the residents.

Cathryn, who is studying Community Music at the Sage Gateshead, said: “They enjoy such a range of music.

“North East traditional songs are very popular, as are classical pieces and hits from the 1950s and 60s. It is a very uplifting experience and it’s a joy to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.

“Many of the residents have great voices. The other day, two people spontaneously burst into Shenandoah. They sang beautifully.”

On Thursday, May 15, a total of 17 residents at Ponteland Manor, run by Care UK, will take to the stage at the Sage Gateshead for a half-hour performance. The contingent is set to include a 93-year-old.

Activities co-ordinator at the care home, Lynne Niven, said: “Cathryn asked us if she could come along and do some music therapy and we agreed as we thought it would benefit quite a few of our residents.

“It has been so successful that we’ve formed a choir and being involved in group singing is giving them a lot of joy and happiness. Another positive aspect is that it enables family members to take part in an activity together with their loved one.

“Cathryn has been fantastic with the residents and she has increased their confidence.

“They are all very excited about the Sage Gateshead performance. I am sure that they will rise to the occasion and their performance will be a treat for the audience.”

One of the residents, Florence, used to be a music tutor and she enjoys being part of the group. She and a few others have been encouraged by Cathryn to conduct the choir for a couple of songs.

Fellow choir member Eileen said: “There’s a good variety of songs and these sessions have brought us even closer together. We will put everything into the Sage Gateshead performance.”

Audrey also takes part. She said that Cathryn’s teaching has improved their singing skills and it has been helpful to have a concert to work towards.