2021 Getting back together was not easy. So many of us were very wary, and some are particularly vulnerable, and felt isolation accutely. Singing together is such a help, we want to invite anyone still suffering the misery of the lock-down to drop in one Friday and give it a go!
2020 Covid had stopped our meetings, and the members missed their get-togethers. It has been hard for everyone. This is a life-line cut off just when it is much needed.
Comment on a public performance by the Band from one of its members, end of August 2019:
WE were very happy to be playing again in the Crossrail Roof Garden for the Late Bloom festival, ending a summer of great free community arts events curated by The Space. We put together a programme of solo numbers and welcomed plenty of audience participation in our group numbers. It’s a great space to perform in. There was a great atmosphere and the support from those in the Methodist Church Circuit who regularly help and provide encouragement is much appreciated. The project is based on the ethos that music can be healing in many different ways, including preparing and sharing our music with others like last Saturday, but also as we gather each week - however we may be feeling - to help each other benefit from making music in a supportive community.
In Autumn 2016 a member nominated the Band for a Radio4 award from the programme ALL IN THE MIND
We didn't win, but we were long listed. We had a phone call from Radio 4 and were all very excited!
One member’s testimonial: reproduced from a previous Annual Report.
I am recommending the ‘Band for Life Project’ because of the exceptional quality of the project and the difference it has made to my life.
The project leader, Sarah Wilson, is a highly qualified Music therapist who ensures that everyone is appreciated and encouraged for their music, regardless of ability. Band for Life is enabling and creates an environment that is safe and respectful, inclusive, and where singing, playing an instrument, laughing and being with wonderful people is the best medicine possible. It doesn’t matter what your diagnosis is, if any. Music and people are the core and any symptoms, behaviours etc. are just understood and worked with.
We meet weekly to sing and play music. People get up individually and sing songs or we sing together, as well as some who play instruments themselves. There is never an angry word, and all of life’s pressures, problems, fear, sadness and disappointments fade away as we sing, play, talk and laugh.
The project takes place at Bow Road Methodist Church in East London and I appreciate the building which I find very light, spacious and comfortable. The volunteers who attend offer support are accepting and caring. They are wonderful people offering support and comfort and being with them gives me the opportunity to meet with other people.
In addition to the project meetings, the project leader follows people up during the week, everyone is always concerned when someone’s not there, and Sarah will liaise with carers and families to support us in whatever way she can.
We have started to have extra sessions with meals which are great, and I hope we can have more. As well as the weekly sessions, some members go with the project leader to other local projects to take music and singing to them too, which is valuable outreach to people in similar circumstances who also get a lot from music and being with people who understand them.
I am only alive today because of the support I have received from everyone involved in the Band for Life project. Without the kindness, patience and encouragement from the staff and members of the project, life would be unbearable. It gives me hope and for a few hours I do not think about killing myself. My depression lifts off of my shoulders and I can breathe and smile. Many times I have found it difficult physically and mentally to get to the project, but I know that when I get there and sing, the dreadfully grim world that feels like a prison is forced to release me so for an hour or two I am human again, it’s about living again, not just existing. There are days when I am only able to survive because I know Fridays will come around again.
Supported by funding from the Methodist Church
Registered Charity No 1134888
Registered Charity No 1134888