Next Medway Skylarks Session: Saturday 9 March 2024
Our next Skylarks session is: at University of Greenwich, North Road, Chatham ME4 4TB on Saturday 9 March 2024. Drive around the campus, up Central Avenue, turn right at the top where the buildings end and then drive along this road returning towards the front of the campus. Please park between the Nelson and Blake Buildings, close to the centre of Nelson. Enter the central door of Nelson and turn left, to find Room N008 on your left..
Please arrive 10.15 am for 10.30am start.
If you would like to join us, but haven't registered yet, please contact us by eMail: email@example.com. Please see our Skylarks flyer. Once registered we can also send you the Zoom link, if required.
Here is a link to our Spring songbook.
Take a peek at a few video clips of our Skylarks session on 24 June: L'il Lisa Jane & to finish Five Foot 2
Skylarks Performance at the University of Greenwich Winter Wonderland Open Day, 25 November 2023
Medway Skylarks were invited to give a Christmas Carol performance at this Open Day to provide entertainment over lunch.
We warmed-up and practised before performing at noon, using our Xmas23 songbook. We started with Calypso Carol and this is captured in the video that can be viewed by clicking the picture to the right. Our performance was well received by the diners. Many thanks to our facilitator, Sue Lovell, who led us brilliantly.
We would like to thank the University of Greenwich, School of Engineering and Science very much for supporting us and even providing a meal voucher to eat in the canteen!! Thanks you very much Hayley Smith and Linda Nicolaides for organising this event. The University very kindly hosts our weekly sessions free of charge.
Skylarks at Launch of the Bread of Life Neuro-cafe, 24 October'23
Medway Skylarks were pleased to invite the Medway Singers to join them in a performance at the launch of the MNN's Bread of Life Neuro-cafe on Tuesday 24 October.
Please click the picture on the right to see a video of us performing 'Bye Bye Love'. WE were joined for this song by the Deputy Lieutenant for Kent, Brig. Peter Gilbert (far left) and the Mayor of Medway, Cllr. Nina Gurung.
Thank you Sue Lovell for brilliantly leading the community singing at the start of the event and this Skylarks performance at the end.
The Bread of Life Neuro-cafe will be open on the fourth Tuesday of the month, 10am to Noon, at:
17, Darnley Road. Strood, ME2 2EU.
Skylarks at Sticks 'N' Stones Well-being Festival, 26 August 2023
Medway Skylarks held a public session at the Sticks 'N' Stones Well-being Festival held at Fort Amherst. The Festival was organised by the Paramount Foundation and attracted a host of local community groups.
A video of Medway Skylarks session can be watched by clicking on the image to the right.
Many thanks to Sue Lovell for leading the group and for the intrepid Skylarks who managed to scale Fort Amherst to participate.
Skylarks, 15 July 2023
We welcome Sue Lovell back and she reveals her pantomime experiences as she teaches My Dog He Can do the Can Can to our new Skylarks. Please click on the picture to the right to watch us having a good time singing this song; all very therapeutic!!
Medway Skylarks, 8 July
Watch Rachel Lowrie, deputising for our regular facilitator Sue Lovell, introducing us to a new song (for us) called 'Nelson's Blood'. It seems that Nelson's body was preserved after he perished at the Battle of Trafalgar by treating it with rum.... Our Skylarks were encouraged to suggest other drinks that Nelson's body could also have been preserved in.
Many thanks to Rachel for a very enjoyable and therapeutic session.
Skylarks Fundraising, Sun Pier, 1 July 2023
On Saturday 1st July Skylarks Susan Pope and Judith Northwood-Boorman raised a total of £180 for our Skylarks Group at the Chatham Intra Art Flea Fair held at Sun Pier Chatham, from 11.0am to 3.0pm. On sale were author-signed copies of their own published book titles, Susan's CD of Little Stars, up-cycled craft items by Judith, and assorted china and many bric-a-brac items.
To the right you see a picture of the stall being visited by a 'Victorian' lady who was promoting the event.
Skylarks Xmas 2022, video
Sue recorded this Xmas video on 10 December 2022, but accidentally in slow motion!! She has now found a way to bring us up to speed!! Please click the picture to the right to see us singing Calypso Carol and playing hand-chimes.
This was a hybrid session, a week before our Skylarks Xmas Party.
Thank you Sue for a reminder of our Xmas festivities.
Recent Skylarks Performances
Medway Skylarks performed at the MidKent Motor Neurone Disease Association Xmas Bazaar held at the Corn Exchange, Rochester on Saturday 26 November. To view a video of 'Rockin' Around the Xmas Tree', please click HERE."
Dr Trish Vella-Burrow's review: "Absolutely super! Voices in fine fettle. Well done to you all. Well-deserved canine appreciation too!"
To view a photo gallery, recorded 7 May 2022, of Medway Skylarks using instruments purchased using a Kent Community Foundation/ Medway Better Connected grant please click HERE.
'The Living Well' Skylarks video. Produced by Phil Self/ Music4Wellbeing this video features Canterbury Skylarks and the Simon Langton School for boys. Albert from Medway Skylarks also features on guitar and audio. Please click HERE to watch the video.
Caring Through Singing event (see flyer), 30 April. A minibus, kindly provided by Canterbury Cantata Trust, took x8 Medway Skylarks to the renowned Colyer-Fergusson Hall where they joined Skylarks who had made their own way there to celebrate the 10 Anniversary of the Canterbury Cantata Trust. Please use this Link to see a recording of this joyous event. Donations for the new Parkinson's Centre for Integrated Therapy can be made by clicking Here.
First Hybrid Medway Skylarks Session, 12 March 2022: The Face-to-face session took place in the Meeting Room at St Mary's Island Community Centre, with Covid precautions in place. A video of the hybrid group singing the voice warm-up song 'I Walk to the End of the Road' can be viewed by clicking Here. Our talented facilitator, Sue Lovell, taught us a round based on 'I Wanna Sing Sing Sing' and our first effort can be viewed Here. Many thanks indeed to Phil Bungay and Susan Pope for making the arrangements for this hybrid session.
Medway Skylarks Xmas Party, 18 December 2021.
A good time was had by all thanks to our gifted facilitator, Sue Lovell. We were honoured by the participation of Deputy Mayor of Medway, Cllr Kirstine Carr. Sue took us through our breathing exercises, including use of a straw and playing the Kazoo, please click Here to see an amusing video of us attempting a rendition of Oh Christmas Tree.
We then used the hand chimes, purchased with a grant from Medway Better Connected Community fund, to Ding Dong Merrily on High - Click Here for the video. We broke out to do a Xmas Carol quiz (a score draw) and then Albert (guitar and vocals) and Sue duetted beautifully on Happy Xmas War is Over (Video).
Our Indoor Performances:
1. MidKent College, 29 October - Launch of NVDi Awareness Course
A link to a video of the performance will soon be posted Here.
2. Launch of Non-Visible Disability Initiative (NVDi) at Rochester Cathedral,
3 September 2021. Medway Skylarks, led by our facilitator Sue Lovell, serenaded participants as they arrived for the event. Please click Here to see a video of the complete Skylarks performance.
Our Outdoor Performances:
i). Motor Neurone Disease Association Christmas Bazaar, 13 November 2021. We met at the Parkinson's blue gazebo, in the disabled car park opposite the Rochester Corn Exchange Clock (behind Ye Arrow pub), Rochester High Street, ME1 1LS. To see an uncut Zoom recording, worts and all, please click HERE,(an edited clip to follow).
ii). Launch of Parkinson's UK Eternal Lakes, Cliffe, Cafe/ Neuro Drop In, 5 August 2021. Thank you to Trish-Vella-Burrows and keyboard player Peter for stepping in at the very last minute to lead us, following the news that Sue had to self-isolate. To see a report containing pictures and videos on this site, please click Here.
iii). Boxing4Parkinson's, Luton Recreation Ground, 28 August 2021. To see a video of the complete Skylarks performance, recorded by our facilitator Sue Lovell, please click Here. We were honoured to be joined in the choir by participants including: the Mayor of Medway Cllr. Jan Aldous and her consort Mr Tony Aldous; and Medway Councillors David Brake, Vince Maple and Simon Curry.
Sue Lovell leads the Zoom sessions now, having taken over from Nicky Underwood from 18 July 2020. Sue has been supporting Medway Skylarks from our first sessions and has been helping out on all of our Zoom sessions. She is trained in the 'Sing to Beat Parkinson's' music therapy and has experience in leading a number of community choirs. To find out more about Sue, please visit her ' Versatile Vocals' website by clicking Here.
Many thanks to Nicky Underwood for pioneering the virtual Medway Skylarks Zoom sessions.
Medway Skylarks is free, but voluntary donations are always very welcome. If you wish to donate please click on this GoFundMe LINK.
Archive Skylarks Performances:
Please scroll down for videos of all recent Medway Skylarks performances, including Lower Stoke Community Connection performance on 12 March 2020 and at Rochester Riverside Crafty Xmas event on 7 December 2019.
Medway Neuro Arts Festival, Eastgate Gardens, Rochester, on Saturday 20 July 2019. To see videos of this performance, please click Here. (The videos are on the 'Neuro Arts Festival' page of this website on a 'Music videos' drop-down menu).
MNN has promoted the formation of this singing and movement group, in association with Professor Grenville Hancox of the Canterbury Cantata Trust and Trish Vella-Burrows of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts & Health. This therapeutic activity has been proven to be effective for those with Parkinson's Disease and the research has now been widened to include ALL other neurological conditions. Medway Skylarks is now an Associate of Canterbury Cantata Trust's 'Sing to Beat Parkinson's' network. Medway Skylarks meets weekly at the University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, but closed in August.
YOU ARE VERY WELCOME TO JOIN US. Either just turn up or drop us an email for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Medway Skylarks Online: The Isolation Choir
Phil Self has created 'The Isolation Choir' which involves us using our phones to video ourselves as we sing along to his YouTube videos. We then send our videos to Phil by email attachment (theisolationchoir.gmail.com) and he magically combines them such that we will later see ourselves performing as part of a virtual combined Canterbury Cantata Trust/ Massed Skylarks choir. You need to put your full name, location, Skylarks group (Medway) in the body of your email.
Phil started off with 'Wild Mountain Thyme', so just click the photo to the right to see the result of our first Isolation Choir video. Many thanks Phil for a brilliantly produced and edited video.
The second Isolation Choir song was 'What A Wonderful World'. To see this video, featuring the Sacconi Quartet, please click HERE.
The third Isolation Choir song was 'Road to Nowhere' and it can be viewed by clicking HERE.
The final Isolation Choir song of the year was 'White Christmas' and this can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Nicky Underwood took the final practice last week, and we aimed for something between Yazoo and the Flying Pickets.....
One of Medway Skylarks favourites, with Nicola Harwood and Judith Northwood Boorman leading on the descants.
Skylarks final piece with Ian Prior making sure that we kept to a good tempo.
This Community Connection/ Social prescribing event was organised by Hannah Skerritt (RBLI) and Medway Skylarks would like to congratulate her on managing so well to fit such a large event into a relatively small venue.
The Peninsula Methodist Church, Lower Stoke, hosts a Companion Cafe every Thursday and on the fourth Thursday of each month it becomes a Neuro-cafe.
Skylarks at Community Connection event, Lower Stoke, 12 March 2020We go A Capella, led by Ian Prior. Deputy Mayor of Medway Cllr. Jan Aldous sang with us and listened to: Hey Mr Miller/ Oh What A Beautiful Morning/ Chapel of Love. Please click HERE to see this excellent video captured by Jane Etheridge (Headway Medway).
Medway Skylarks Research Publication
Medway Skylarks has participated in research to help establish an evidence base for the 'Sing to Beat Parkinson's'. Trish Vella-Burrows and Prof. Grenville Hancox participated in this international research projext, the results of which have just been published in 'Aging & Mental Health'; to see the paper please click Here.
The paper concluded: This first international singing study with People with Parkinson's demonstrated that group singing can reduce stigma, anxiety and stress and enhance social support in older adults living with Parkinson’s. The findings are encouraging and warrant further research using more robust designs.
Isobella from the University of Kent, Media Studies, kindly filmed an early Skylarks Saturday morning class, and this video gives a good example of the multi-tasking singing and movement that is so beneficial - click image to the right to see the video >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Sue Saunders, Rochester Riverside Liaison Officer, and Katie Brown and the marketing team welcomed us and set us up in a good position within the Marketing Suite to sing our carols.
Nicola and Ann did a great job as the only sopranos to make it; they sang one of the verses of White Xmas as a duet, with the choir humming softly to accompany.
We finished our performance with Mistletoe and Wine and I think it fair to say that it went with a swing.
Thank you so much to Phil Self for rushing from leading choirs in Deal and Folkestone in the morning, to be with us. Thanks also to the Medway Skylarks who battled their way through Winter Dicken's traffic to find a parking space and sing.
Rochester Riverside staff kindly plied us with mince pies, mulled wine and coffee, so a good time was had by all!!!
Rochester Riverside held a raffle and have selected Medway Skylarks to be the beneficiary; they raised £135 and also sponsored the Skylarks Xmas card.
So a very big thank you to Rochester Riverside.
Medway Skylarks at Rochester Riverside's Crafty Xmas event, 7 December 2019Choir Leader: Phil Self
Camera: Mike, Rochester Riverside CoopClick HERE for Silver Bells & White Xmas
Camera: Mike, Rochester Riverside Coop
Click HERE for Silver Bells & White Xmas
St Mary's Island Community Centre Xmas Fair, 23 November 2019Camera: Louise Bungay
Medway Skylarks, Mistletoe and Wine.
Our first performance of this Cliff Richard 'classic'. Many thanks to Trish Vella-Burrows for leading the choir, with John Cornwall on guitar.
Sandwiched between Calypso Carol & Silent Night (Jon Beetham leading) we had the men Ding Donging and the ladies singing the verses - all joing together in Glooooria.
Mayor of Medway Cllr. Habib Tejan presented Medway Skylarks with Rochester Riverside Sponsorship
Rochester Riverside has very kindly agreed to sponsor the Medway Skylarks Xmas Card, meaning that all money raised will go to supporting Medway Skylarks. These cards are on sale for 50p/ card. Here is a clip of the Mayor's speech.
We opened with Hey Mr Miller, breaking into two parts - Men vs Women this time. Led by Nik Vella-Burrows with John Cornwall on guitar.
Thinking of George and so many Skylarks who would have loved to have joined us, but couldn't make it to this performance due to health issues. Can you spot the gentleman from the Salvation Army who bravely stepped in to help us?
Our first performance of this song; the descant worked really well!!
Many thanks as always to Trish Vella-Burrows and Music4Wellbeing for leading the singing and bringing it all together.
Social Prescribing Event, St Augustine's Church, Gillingham, 7 November 2019Video: Dr Peter Wareing - Many thanks
WALK FOR PARKINSON's, LEEDS CASTLESaturday 8 September 2019
Serenading Walkers:Hey Mr Miller
Combined Skylarks choirs sang songs to greet walkers as they returned to the start area. Click the button to the left to hear us opening with 'Hey Mr Miller'.
Troubles of the World, Round
We finished off with an impomptu 'Troubles of the World', round, with Bell and the Boots taking one of the parts!!!
Many thanks indeed to Nik & Trish Vella Burrows for leading the choir and to John Cornwall for guitar accompaniment. Thanks also to Frank Geoghegan for helping to reinforce the singing, and to Phil Bungay for organising the Skylark's contribution.
It was very nice to see Junko & Tony from Canterbury again!!!
Medway Ghanaian Association Family Fun Day
Medway Skylark were invited to perform at this event on Saturday 13 July. In the morning the participants went out on the Great Lines picking up rubbish and then congregated around the Parkinson's UK gazebo for a function that was honoured by the attendance of The Worshipful Mayor of Medway, Cllr. Habib Tejan. In the picture you see the Mayor, together with the Lady Mayoress Mrs Bridget Tezan, joining the Skylarks in singing 'Hey, Mr Miller'. The Ghanaian Association has adopted Medway Parkinson's Branch as their charity of the year.
We would like to thank our choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows, and accompanist John Cornwall, for coming all the way from Deal, to make this performance possible.
Canterbury: Joint Skylarks choirs to celebrate Parkinson's UK Awareness Week, 13 April 2019
Many thanks to Tony & Junko for organising this event and then welcoming Medway Skylarks into their flat for refreshments. Prof. Grenville Hancox writes: Skylarks heard singing in Rose Lane Canterbury: "Well done every one for realising the coming together this afternoon of Medway and Canterbury Skylarks. It was a great success and I am sure the collecting box for Parkinsons UK will have benefited. Thanks too for the support shown by Monday Music and Amici Chorus members. We once again demonstrated our strap line Caring through Singing! Such enthusiasm together with such strong singing should be captured again soon".
See here for video of 'Streets of London' (apologies for the wind noise).
Medway Skylarks performing at Medway Social Prescribing Day event on Thursday 14 March 2019 at Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham
Please click the image to the right for a video clip of Medway Skylarks singing Amazing Grace. It should be added that the ambient noise levels were high, so we needed to pull out all of the stops.
Many thank to Trish Vella-Burrows for leading the choir and to John Cornwll for accompanying on guitar.
Streets of London
We opened our set with our first public performance of Streets of London, led by Nik Vella-Burrows.
Dream Dream Dream
Close your eyes and you can almost hear the Everly Brothers..perhaps not, but you can hear our amazing choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows singing like a nightingale!!
Joint Medway & Chatham Skylarks performances above to help celebrate Parkinson's UK World Awareness Day (11 April) at the busy, and rather noisy, Pentagon Shopping Centre. Many thanks indeed to Trish & Nik Vella-Burrows and John Cornwall for leading and accompanying the combined Medway & Chatham Skylarks choirs.
Many thanks also to Louise Bungay for the video recordings; the full download of all 6 songs (2.4GB) is available Here.
Medway Skylarks at the Medway Community Showcase, Brook Theatre, Chatham, 17 March
Medway Skylarks were invited to perform at this prestigeous event and it was a great experience for all of us; we even had a dressing room!! Filming was not allowed in the auditorium, but Louise did take this video of us practicing Tzena, Tzena just before we went on stage. Notice the shamrocks that we were wearing on St Patrick's Day - courtesy of Maggi Alexander - many thanks Maggi.
In addition to Tzena, we also sang Molly Malone and You Raise me Up.
Medway Skylarks at Medway Nucleus Arts ArtFest on 1 December, Trafalgar Stage, Chatham High Street
Many thanks to Trish & Nik Vella-Burrows for leading the choir so cheerfully on rather a wet & miserable day. Thanks also to Timothy for the videos, accessed to the right.Thank you Nucleus Arts for the invite!!
Many thanks to Trish & Nik Vella-Burrows for leading the choir so cheerfully on rather a wet & miserable day. Thanks also to Timothy for the videos, accessed to the right.
Thank you so much to those Skylarks who braved the weather and put on a festive performance.
Medley: Winter Wonderland/ Rocking around the Christmas Tree/ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Apologies for those viewing on fixed screens, such as laptops & PC monitors, because landscape shots still appear in portrait - don't crick your necks watching!! For those watching on phones & tablets, just turn your screens as appropriate.
Medway Skylarks performance at the St Mary's Island Xmas Fair 2018
Medway Skylarks performed at the SMICC Xmas Fair again this year. The background hub-hub of the Fair made it quite a challenge, but clicking on the picture to the left you will see us singing 'Calypso Carol'.
Many thanks to choir leaders Nik & Trish Vella-Burrows and accompaniest John Cornwall. Also thanks to Mark McGrevey for the song-books and Trevor Nagler for recording and editing the video.
Medway Skylarks Perform at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group AGM, 26 September 2018
We were honoured to be invited to sing at this AGM and hence be given the opportunity to promote our singing & movement 'Sing to the Beat' therapy for neurological conditions. We had an excellent EXALTATION of Skylarks, very ably lead by choir master Trish Vella-Burrows and accompanied by John Cornwall on guitar. Our final song was 'You Raise Me Up' and a video, recorded by Louise Bungay, can be seen by clicking on the image to the right.
MCCG Clinical Chairman Dr Peter Green joins Skylarks - for a photo-shoot!!!
Yes, Dr Green (far right standing) showed a genuine interest in Medway Skylarks and joined us for a photo-shoot in front of the Medway Neurological Network stall at the AGM. Many thanks to Frank Geoghegan for the excellent photo.
Shortly afterwards we did our warm-up/ practice and before you could leave on a jet plane we were performing - the rest is history.
Medway Skylarks Perform at wHoo Cares 1940's Afternoon Tea Party - a 2018 Volunteer Recognition Event, 7 September 2018
Although short on numbers, the gallant few Skylarks kept right on to the end of the road with some wartime classics. Choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows had our audience of wHoo Cares volunteers and local residents joining in whilst they enjoyed a grand tea; no wartime rations here!!! Many thanks indeed to Trish and our guitarist John Cornwall, without whom this show would not have been possible.
Pictures: Martin Chetwood
Grain Carnival & Fete, Saturday 21 July 2018
MNN had a float in the Grain Carnival promoting the Hoo Neuro-Cafes and Medway Skylarks performed a song, written especially for this event. See our final practice of the 'Neuro-Cafe' song, by clicking the picture to the right.
To see a video of the Skylarks singing at the fete, please go to the Neuro-cafes page. Many thanks to John Cornwall (guitar) & Trish Vella-Burrows (choir leader) for making this possible.
Singing their socks off for
World Parkinson's Day
11 April 2018.
Sainsbury's, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre ^ >>>>>>>>
John Cornwall on Guitar
Many thanks to Graham Swan for the first 3 photos
Trish Vella-Burrows leads the choir
Judith, Olive, Doreen & Maggi lead from the front
Or for a more arty presentation, see the animated slideshow.
Secret chord? For Amazing Grace, click Here
BREAKING NEWS: Prof. Grenville Hancox has participated in the 'Sing to beat Parkinson's Asia Pacific Study Symposiun, 1-3 February 2018' held in Australia. The amazing research findings have been reported by ABC News - Australia: Parkinson's disease improves with singing, study finds. See this report, including a video, here.
Medway Skylarks are part of a study to demonstrate that Sing to Beat Parkinson's can also help improve the symptoms of other neurological conditions, as well as Parkinson's Disease.