Wigan Council Choir in World Premiere Performance

Wigan Council’s brand new ‘Believe Voices’ choir is set for its first ever concert at St. John’s church in Pemberton this evening.

The choir, set up in May 2017, is made up of around 50 council employees and aims to “maintain workplace well-being”, promote positive mental health, and create a bigger sense of community among the council workforce.

Speaking ahead of the performance, which is part of the fifth annual Pemberton Festival, the Mayor of Wigan Borough, Councillor Bill Clarke said that “physical and mental wellbeing for both residents and employees is a priority for Wigan Council and there has been a lot of positive feedback from staff about this opportunity.”

The new choir’s only other performance was an open rehearsal in one of Wigan’s Town Hall chambers where employees within the council were able to drop in to see the budding singers in action.

Tonight’s performance at the local festival will be their first for a paying audience.

Pemberton Festival runs from 13th to 19th October and is an “annual celebration of all that is current in the historic community of Pemberton.”

There are several venues involved ranging from churches to primary schools hosting events such as a murder mystery night run by St. John’s Dramatic Society, a heritage folklore walk with the Groundwork Trust, and, of course, the world premiere of the ‘Believe Voices’ choir.

Imelda Shirley and Sharon Darby-Purcell of the award-winning Wigan Music Service run the choir and they have chosen a range of music from pop songs, such as ‘California Dreamin” by the Mamas and Papas, to traditional tunes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Shirley remarked that “above everything else, the choir is really fun and although we are nervous about our first public performance, we’re excited and know we have the support of the council and our friends and family behind us.”

‘Believe Voices’ rehearses every Wednesday lunchtime between 12:30 and 13:00 and welcomes both male and female employees whether they are experienced singers or not, offering those brave enough the opportunity to sing solos.

The choir’s debut comes just two weeks after the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced a major review of the mental health act which she hopes will “tackle the longstanding injustices of discrimination in our mental health system once and for all.”

The ‘Believe Voices’ choir is Wigan Council’s way of trying to look after its employees’ mental health and well-being and their debut performance commences at 7:00pm tonight (18th October).

Tickets for the concert, which also sees the Wigan Community Choir perform, are £5.00 for adults and children are allowed in for free with all the money raised being donated to the Mayor’s chosen charities for 2017, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Parkinsons UK.

Tickets can be bought through the Pemberton Festival organiser, Stephen Southern or by calling 01942 486009.