ICU staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals join national NHS choir in the hopes of getting Christmas number one | Latest News

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ICU staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals join national NHS choir in the hopes of getting Christmas number one | Latest News

ICU staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals join national NHS choir in the hopes of getting Christmas number one

Hospital staff in unifroms, wearing face masks, smiling, maintaining social distance image

Staff on the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Preston Hospital are part of a 100 strong Zoom choir which is releasing a re-make of classic Police track ‘Every Breath You Take’ in a bid to secure the Christmas number one spot.

The ICU Liberty Singers, made up of ICU staff across the country, are aiming to get to Christmas number one and raise funds to support the recovery of the public and NHS staff after the challenges they have faced this year.

The fundraising project, called R.E.N.E.W (Rebuild, Educate, Network, Empower and Welcome) aims to fund sustainable projects that will bring benefits for patients and families worst affected by Covid-19. There will also be a focus on staff mental health and wellbeing and building back from the pandemic in a positive way.

With choir members such as nurses, doctors and allied health professionals, the group know the pressures of working on the frontline and have all experienced one of the toughest years in history. 

Dr Catherine Roberts, Consultant in Critical Care at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Joining the choir was an opportunity to do something fun and provide some escapism from the immense pressures we are all under. I’ve loved being part of it, not just the enjoyment from singing, but also the sense of community and support.”

Carmel Richardson, Speech and Language Therapist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“One Wednesday evening at the start of December, I found myself sat in my lounge on a Zoom call joined by 100 other intensive care staff around the country laughing at myself singing Christmas carols (with actions!). I actually thought what on earth am doing?! However, after an hour of attempting to sing in tune, I found that I had actually smiled and laughed more than I had all day, maybe even all week. This continued between choir ‘rehearsals’ as I told my colleagues and family about the surreal situation I had found myself in! Little did I know when I tentatively joined my first Zoom choir practice that we would be recording a song to raise monies to support staff working in intensive care and that this would actually be in the run for Christmas number 1. The choir’s WhatsApp group has been a hub of positivity in the run up to Christmas and it is clear that for all those involved this experience will stay with them forever.”

Working on the basis that music and singing are immensely relaxing for the mind, Choir Director Kari Olsen Porthouse contacted Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, Dr Alison Pittard and offered to run a pop up choir – with 4 singing sessions and a remote recording of one of the songs.

The 100 strong choir ‘met’ for the first time on Zoom, on November 25th, and had an hour of hilarity, singing a range of songs. 

Since then, legal permission was granted by SONY ATV, which owns the rights to Every Breath You Take (I’ll Be Watching You) and the opportunity to release the song took shape. The track comprises 223 individual vocal recordings sung by the choir members, recorded in their own homes and then blended to create a ‘virtual choir’. 

Watch a clip of the single here: https://vimeo.com/490755018

LTH Trust Choir - Silver Bells from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals on Vimeo.

The single was released on December 18th and will be available for download and streaming through the usual channels.

The group are planning to take on Liam Gallagher, Jess Glynne and Robbie Williams in a bid for the top spot.  All money raised will go to create a fund, managed through the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, to provide support for staff that they feel will have a positive impact on their Wellbeing and Mental health after an extraordinarily impactful year.

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