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Making a connection through music

Posted onPosted on 21st May

A Mansfield-based group making a difference to people’s lives through the creativity and enjoyment of music is celebrating its first birthday.

Open Voices, whose weekly music sessions are particularly suitable for adults with learning disabilities, allows people to connect through singing or simply listening.

Singer and pianist Cliff McArdle, who leads the sociable sessions, said: “It’s such a privilege to lead everyone in singing fun songs and occasionally watching someone visibly blossom as a massive smile crosses their face.

“You just know you’re seeing them achieve something new. It’s lovely see them enjoying themselves.”

Mansfield Open Voices is one of four groups across Nottinghamshire run by the charity Music for Everyone as part of its health and wellbeing programme.

Open to all, the group meets in the Newstart Theatre at Portland College on Fridays, from 1.45pm to 3.15pm.

It would welcome more members, including volunteers. Volunteer helper Rosanne Richardson said: “I wasn’t at all sure what to expect at Mansfield Open Voices when I was first going to help out, but it didn’t take many minutes to realise what a happy and fun group it is.

Songs with actions are particularly popular.

Among the guests at the first birthday celebrations were Mansfield mayor Andy Abrahams and trustees of Music for Everyone.

John Hess, chairman of the trustees, said: “It is quite astonishing what has and is still being achieved. Our numbers of participants and different groups are growing as people recognise the joy of music in their lives. We believe music participation should be on social prescription.”

For more information about Mansfield Open Voices, email Andy at [email protected] or call 01623 499111 or go to