Clark Community Choir

The Clark Community Choir, “Generations Singing Together”.

Overview

Clark Community Choir was formed as a tribute and memorial to a local man – Robert Clark. Robert formed a concert party for children in 1959 (St Ninian’s Junior Concert Party), and was its inspiration and chairman for 50 years until his sudden death in November 2009. He had been awarded Musselburgh’s Citizen of the Year in the April 2009; and a dozen ex and current members of the concert party, ranging from ages 8 – 80 got together to sing for him at the Award Ceremony as a surprise.

The group enjoyed it so much they decided to continue to meet and sing together regularly on a social basis. The concert party was organising a 50th reunion party in November 2009 when Robert tragically died two weeks before the reunion. In memory of him, the group who had sung for him in April, decided to create a new intergenerational choir, name it after him, and open it up to the whole community. Thus in 2010, with the help of a small start-up grant from GWT, the Clark Community Choir was born with their adopted motto of “Generations Singing Together” and they currently have a membership of over 70 members, the youngest is 8 and the oldest is 86. The Choir has Charity status, and has never incurred charges for membership.

Their intergenerational journey has been astounding and continues to evolve. The Choir performs regularly as a voluntary group in residential and care homes, hospices, charity events, and local festivals. In 2012, they were privileged to sing at the Scottish Parliament at the launch of the GWT Bringing Together Local Authorities and Intergenerational Practice event.

Benefits for the Community

Within the choir setting, everyone’s opinion is valued and they work together to make each member feel valued. The members are gaining a better understanding of each other and breaking down negative and stereotypical attitudes. They have built an atmosphere of greater respect for each other, rebuilt trust and tolerance and dispelled the negative attitudes towards ageism; and have helped generations to feel a sense of involvement and well-being within the wider community. The choir goes out into the local community to entertain and is met with enthusiasm and praise. Their choice of music is both contemporary and traditional. Most community activities are age-segregated, but the Clark Community Choir is unique because every generation is welcome and they can collectively share in a sense of achievement.

Benefits for the Younger People

The choir has enabled the younger people to become more motivated, improve their self-esteem and gain confidence. The younger people have the opportunity to learn new and traditional creative skills from the older members and develop their literacy skills. By teaching the older people to use modern technology, the younger people are also learning interpersonal and tutoring skills. The younger members have also gained skills in team building, leadership, co-ordination and negotiation. In 2012, workshops were introduced, which encouraged all members to adopt leadership roles. This will be particularly beneficial for further education and future employment.

This can contributes to the younger person’s sense of wellbeing as this young participant says, “It makes memories – makes me feel good from the tip of my toes way up to the top of my head”.

Benefits for the Older People

Belonging to a choir can give a sense of wellbeing, belonging and a sense of purpose, value and fun. Therefore older people, in particular, are less inclined to feel isolated or become reclusive. The aim of the choir is about fun and enjoyment, as this member relays, “The choir lifts my spirits – the best night of the week”.

The older people have the opportunity to learn new creative skills and new technology, such as accessing music and words through modern media, communicating through email, websites and Facebook and Dropbox. This is being taught to them by the younger members. Members have also gained skills in team building, leadership, co-ordination, and negotiation.

This project contributes to the Scottish National Performance Framework (NPF):

Scottish NPF Objectives

The main NPF objective that this project contributes to is:

  • Social Cohesion brings together people from different backgrounds and promotes development of communities that value diversity. Individuals share a sense of belonging and work together to make their area a better place.

These NPF objectives could also apply:

  • Wealthier and Fairer will support activities that address inequalities and enhance skills, employability and job opportunities. It builds on the characteristics of solidarity, cohesion and sustainability to ensure that all of Scotland has an opportunity to flourish.
  • Safer and Stronger aims to help local communities to flourish and become stronger, safer places to live.
  • Smarter will focus on improving literacy, numeracy and attainment and on raising and realising ambition for all.
  • Healthier will enable people to live longer and healthier lives.

Scottish NPF Outcomes

Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens: To enable children, young people and (subsequently) adults to thrive from an early age, and make a positive contribution in the 21st century.

We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others: Being part of a strong community gives us the support we need locally. It minimises crime, antisocial behaviour and their social and economic costs.

We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk: Tackling risks early and building the resilience of children, young people and families will improve the educational, health and employment outcomes of our people.

We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society: We will continue to advance awareness-raising and anti-discrimination activity, to challenge attitudes, reduce stigma and build a tolerant Scotland.

We live longer, healthier lives: Securing longer healthier lives for the people of Scotland will always be a top priority for governments and individuals alike. There are significant challenges which can only be addressed by everyone in Scotland working together, pursuing this goal through improving lifestyles and life circumstances, and a shared ownership of an effective NHS.

We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger: Communities and people can only flourish and reach their potential when they are protected and they feel safe.

Contact

Irene Grant

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Tel: 0131 665 2525