Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Rhythm of Life Choir at The Christie - Katherine Marsland

Katherine Marsland – Christie patient

Katherine Marsland
I've always wanted to be in a choir, so when I heard rumours of a Christie choir being launched last year, I couldn't wait to sign up. One cold winter night last January, we held our first gathering and the 'Rhythm of Life' choir has been in full swing ever since.

Originally started as a breast cancer choir, the choir is now open to ALL patients and carers as well as Christie staff.

Each session usually starts with a few warm up exercises before we start singing. Over the past year our repertoire has grown and we sing a large range of songs from Latin canons, to musical favourites and traditional African songs. The rebel rousing 'Nana was a Suffragette' has become a group favourite along with the beautiful African song ‘Pura Mamine’.

Our teacher Carol, has the ability to a coax the best out of everyone. She also has a wonderful way of visualising and explaining the lyrics to each song. For example the latin lyrics to 'Da Pacem Domine', or Peace in our time, have become a stress free bus journey: "In-di-A- bus, no streees!"

Singing is good for the soul and as Carol explains, the primary aim of the choir is to make us feel good. For me, the choir has become both a fun way to spend a Monday evening and great way to escape the ups and downs of treatment. I love the buzz I get from singing and the 'feel good factor' you get from singing in a group. There's nothing more satisfying than getting your head and your vocal cords around a beautiful harmony.

As well as putting a smile on your face, research shows that there are lots of additional physical and psychological health benefits to singing. Apparently choristers’ heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, which can have a calming and bonding effect. It stimulates the release of hormones which make us feel happy whilst lowering stress levels. Singing also encourages greater lung capacity, improved immune system and even a reduction in chronic pain. It can even help control snoring. What's not to love about singing!

We had our first performance just before Christmas, singing to Christie patients waiting for their appointment, where we sang three songs. Although a little nerve-wracking, I really enjoyed performing and it was great to see the positive reaction our singing had on other patients.

Our numbers are slowly growing but we'd love some new recruits, so if you're looking for a great way to make some new friends and to share your experiences, then please come along. You don't need to be able to read music, just some enthusiasm, a warm jumper and bottle of water.

We meet every second Monday evening at 7.30pm in the conservatory in the glass corridor. If you are interested in joining the choir please contact Ros or Kathryn on 0161 446 3996 to check dates or email: or

Katherine Marsland sadly passed away earlier this year. This blog has been published with the support of her parents Doreen and Jim who knew how much Katherine loved coming to the choir and how much she gained from singing. 

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