Cumbria Singers Launch

Launch Event at the Fratry, Carlisle Cathedral 21st May 2022

From May 2022 we are Cumbria Singers.

The launch event enabled Cumbria Singers to share its aims and plans with a wider audience. Guests included representatives from choirs across north Cumbria and the University of Cumbria; the Mayors of Carlisle and Penrith; the High Sheriff of Cumbria; the Deputy Lieutenant of Cumbria County Council; Patrons, Vice-Presidents and Trustees of Cumbria Singers.

Dignitaries at the Launch Event
Deputy Lieutenant Ian Brown of Cumbria County Council and High Sheriff Alan McViety talk with a singer from the University of Cumbria Choir

Mike Zeller from BBC Radio Cumbria compered the evening, interviewing Mary Cooke (Patron, Cumbria Singers & Chair of Keswick Music Society and Vice Chair of Keswick Choral Society ), Victoria Barbé (Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria) and students from the University Choir and Jilly Jarman (Music Director of BlueJam Arts, composer and improvisor). They were all invited to talk about their views on the positive contribution that singing and membership of a choir can make to people’s lives and their sense of ‘well being’.

Mike Zeller interviewing Mary Cooke

Following their interviews, Victoria Barbé conducted her students singing songs that they had recently performed at a gathering of University Choirs in Canterbury. They were accompanied by Nick Butters.

Nick Butters
Nick Butters provided accompaniment for the University of Cumbria Choir

Members of BlueJam Arts sang a song composed by Jilly especially for the occasion, which she accompanied on the piano.

Bluejam Arts performing
Members of BlueJam Arts performing

The evening closed with Margaret Riches and Andrew Padmore being interviewed about Cumbria Singers’ future plans. Margaret outlined the rationale for the all-day rehearsals on Saturdays, which should enable more people from further afield to participate. Andrew described his approach to developing people’s confidence and singing techniques and the value of the opportunities to learn through the e-tuition sessions which will be available to members via the web site. Both emphasised the ‘additionality’ that Cumbria Singers will bring to people’s experience of choral singing and, for those who are already singing with choirs in their local communities, how this will lead to improved performance in these other contexts.

Jilly Jarman
Jilly Jarman accompanying BlueJam Arts in a song of her own composition for the occasion

We are grateful to David Wheeler for permission to use his photographs of this event.