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Singing workshops with Helen Astrid in Music and Drama Festival

The workshops are for the local community and visitors to the area - including fans and friends coming for the rugby. They are low-cost – just a £2 registration fee made through the council’s festival website – so are open to people of all incomes.  The workshops – which will be held over three weeks in October while the rugby is on - were the idea of singer and singing teacher Helen Astrid.  The acclaimed opera singer runs singing workshops (using a variety of music styles) for businesses and public sector organisations which are designed to lift spirits and to boost creativity, health and team-building.

She says the rugby workshops will be great fun and an opportunity to “bring cultures together” and promote friendship and understanding between nations.

“In today’s uncertain climate of cultural and religious differences, these sessions will help to show people how each country has their own voice, equal to others,” says Helen. 

Countries taking part in the Rugby World Cup include England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, South Africa, Namibia, Australia and Romania (full list below).

Why did Helen decide to run the workshops? 

“Apart from the passion I have for promoting singing as a fantastic activity with profound health benefits, these workshops will reach a more diverse range of backgrounds, including not only musical followers but also sporting and travel aficionados. 

“It's always thrilling to work with new people, creating a vibrant community. I believe we all need to focus on developing rapport between our communities and work colleagues. What better way to do it than sing!”

The workshops are open to all age-groups from 12 upwards and family groups will be very welcome.  The aim is to sing most of the songs in English but “there might be the odd chorus in the original”, she says.Helen is hoping that the success of programmes such as The Choir on the BBC will tempt more people to give singing a try and find their voice as part of a friendly group.  And what would she say to someone who is thinking of coming along but is a bit shy or worried about singing in front of others?

“There’s no need to worry. We want everyone to feel welcome, whatever your experience. You don't even need to be able to read music. And there's no obligation to sing alone, although the opportunity to try will be there.”

Helen Astrid has been given a “Civic Pride Fund” award by Richmond upon Thames Council to help meet some of the costs involved, but needs to raise more funds and hopes new sponsors will come forward.  Firms, organisations or individuals wishing to find out more about sponsoring the event can contact Helen by telephone or email (click for contact details). 




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