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Healing power of music to bring everybody together at community concert

Suffolk-based charity Musica has been working with people with disabilities and addtional needs on the Hidden Harmonies project. A free community concert is being staged at St Peter's Church, Ipswich, April 15. Photo: Contributed

Suffolk-based charity Musica has been working with people with disabilities and addtional needs on the Hidden Harmonies project. A free community concert is being staged at St Peter's Church, Ipswich, April 15. Photo: Contributed

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An innovative project to bring people with disabilities and additional needs together through music ends later this month with a free community concert.

Hidden Harmonies was made possible thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant of nearly £10,000, Photo: ContributedHidden Harmonies was made possible thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant of nearly £10,000, Photo: Contributed

Hidden Harmonies was the idea of Suffolk charity Musica, set up by professional musicians George Fothergill and Tim Ainslie to help youngsters and adults disadvantaged by disability, ill health, poverty or isolation.

Thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant of nearly £10,000, they held workshops at Inside Out, Leading Lives, Papworth Trust and Rushmere Community Hub in Ipswich plus the Fromus Centre in Saxmundham.

Some 100 people in their late teens to their 60s took part; learning to play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, songwriting and a communal samba drumming piece for the concert.

“It’s been full on. The other day we had about 25 people here, it was like being at a disco. People were dancing in the middle of the room, laughing, smiling and rocking out, it’s been fantastic,” said George.

“The ethos of it is why shouldn’t those with additional needs get to do music, perform and have fun expressing themselves like any one else? The creative arts helps with your physical and mental wellbeing too.”

To his knowledge, nothing like this has been attempted in Suffolk before.

“I think that’s what the Big Lottery Fund liked, us bringing all these community hubs together for one big celebration gig.”

George expects 20-30 of those who took part in the workshops to perform at the community concert where there’ll be self-written songs, some rock ‘n’ roll sing-a-longs, poetry readings and more.

It takes place from 1pm-4pm, April 15, at St Peter’s Church, Ipswich. Entry is free.

Click here for more about Musica’s work.

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