City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra invites NHS workers to attend concerts for free

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has today announced that it will make up to 5,000 free tickets available to NHS workers, once concerts resume following the coronavirus pandemic.  

Original announcement 22 April 2020: The CBSO family, including the CBSO Chorus, Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorus, serve communities across the West Midlands, and have launched the initiative as a way of thanking the NHS heroes working tirelessly at this time.

Tickets will be made available for selected future concerts at venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall and the CBSO Centre, with up to 5,000 tickets set aside. 

To mark the announcement, members of the CBSO Chorus have released a video performing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from their homes. The CBSO Chorus is one of the world’s great choirs – with nearly 200 voluntary members who come together to sing symphonic choral music. Around 10% of the Chorus members themselves work for the NHS.

Chorus member Dr Helen Chamberlain says: ‘In normal times an evening of singing is my favourite way to unwind from a busy day in the hospital. The CBSO Chorus is like another family where we share fabulous musical experiences - and a few drinks from time to time! At the moment the NHS is another family too - one that I am seeing a lot of. I am looking forward to many things when this crisis lessens, one of which is the joy of singing with my friends again.

Chorus member Dr Louise Davis says: ‘Singing with the CBSO Chorus and being amongst supportive friends who all share the same intense love of music can make a difficult day disappear. We focus on singing, on creating the notes, nothing else, and the worries and stress evaporate. I often leave rehearsals full of joy, laughing and smiling and as refreshed as if I had just had a really good sleep!

Chorus member Dr Kate Stephenson said: 'Having joined the CBSO chorus around 2 years ago I can honestly say I've enjoyed every minute. Every week, after an all day Children's Hospital clinic I am transported to another world in a CBSO rehearsal, leaving energised and uplifted. The NHS - like the CBSO - is very much a team effort, made up of some wonderful individuals.'

Chorus member Dr Tony Whitehouse says: 'I knew I enjoyed singing in the CBSO Chorus but lockdown has made me realise quite how much! In addition to being allowed to rehearse and perform music at the highest level, my weekly meet with friends takes me away from the busyness and business of the NHS.'

CBSO Chief Executive, Stephen Maddock, said: ‘We know that in these uncertain times music is bringing many people comfort, joy and solace. While we’re doing everything we can to keep music alive through online and digital work, we can’t wait to get back to performing for our live audiences once again here in Birmingham. And when we do, we would like to say a huge thank you to NHS workers by offering them tickets to the next concerts in our centenary season and beyond. We hope that they will be able to join us to celebrate their incredible work.

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