As we look forward to the Christmas concerts this weekend, Chorus Director Simon Halsey popped in to CBSO Centre to tell us about the CBSO’s choral programme, what it’s like to be involved and why it is the focus of this year’s festive appeal Be Uplifted.
"Years ago, the CBSO led the way in founding its choral programme, which has developed into an amazing set-up of five choruses and now involves hundreds of people every week. It has become such an important part of the CBSO family.
"Other British orchestras have copied what the CBSO has done in their own different ways and the model has also been taken up by Australian orchestras and most recently by the Berlin Philharmonic, so really where Birmingham leads on this the rest of the world follows.
"In addition to the choruses who regularly perform with the CBSO and with other orchestras, the chorus team’s singing outreach work touches so many people in our community and I have always felt very passionately about encouraging people to take part by singing.
"As you can imagine it’s really expensive, costing around £100,000 per year to run all of the choruses. It’s terribly important that in time of financial stringency that this vital work isn’t something that takes a hit and doesn’t get cut. We’re all passionately involved in trying to get as many new people as possible to contribute in order to make sure that in 30 years’ time what we began so spectacularly and successfully 20 years ago is even more important to Birmingham and the CBSO than it is today. I hope our legacy will be that we’ve set up something in Birmingham that has spread out across the whole world. I can’t imagine what would be better worth supporting than that!
"I hope you’ll want to join us to help Be Uplifted to support these hundreds of people and to support the CBSO. It will make such a difference for us all, so please, please help.
Find out more about the Be Uplifted appeal in this video featuring CBSO presenter and supporter Alan Titchmarsh...