Workplace choir scheme launches following pilot with major employers

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A scheme offering half-day workplace choir sessions to businesses and organisations in Coventry has been launched by professional choir Armonico Consort in a bid to boost staff well-being.

The launch follows a 12-week pilot of the Voice Squad, supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust’s Great Place Scheme and Arts Council England, which has seen choirs established at four of Coventry’s biggest employers – Coventry City Council, the University of Warwick, Coventry University and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.

The four newly-formed choirs rehearsed through the summer with Armonico Consort’s skilled professionals.  They were joined by the Coventry Teachers’ Choir for The Voice Squad Big Sing, a celebratory event at the city’s Albany Theatre, where they performed hit songs Viva La Vida and Happy, and a medley of songs by Coventry band The Specials, arranged by Patrick Stockbridge.

The new half-day Voice Squad workshops have been specially designed for businesses: the sessions can be tailored for between 10 and 300 people, taking place anywhere from the office to the factory floor.

Jacqui Ibbotson, of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The Voice Squad is a great way of bringing people together in a workplace to create healthier, happy environments.  It’s one of our key aims to make culture as accessible as possible and bringing this pilot project to people’s work is a great way of getting them involved as they are singing popular hits that are well known to a wider audience.”

Christopher Monks, artistic director of Armonico Consort, said: “A workplace choir has so many benefits for the individuals and business alike and the feedback about the positive effects on mental well-being and increased productivity has been considerable.  Our half-day workshops are a superb taster, they’re great fun, break down barriers and build confidence, and you’d be amazed at what we can achieve in just one afternoon. Interestingly, those who enjoy it most are those who say they can’t sing.”