Salford City Singers has been improving the wellbeing of the community through music for nine years.
In April 2010, the group began at START in Salford, a creative arts centre that nurtures talents and brings out confidence in those who feel isolated or excluded.
Posters sharing news of the new choir were placed around the centre and Erica Wakeman was the first to go to the gallery and join. After nine years, she is also the only original member left of the Salford City Singers.
In the early days of performing, Erica used to think her voice wasn’t good, and it would make her quite nervous.
“At choir, if I ever used to sing a wrong note I would want the floor to swallow me up and I would just cry because in my mind it was unacceptable.
But, everyone was so supportive and showed me it didn’t matter.”
Salford City Singers has greatly impacted Erica’s life as throughout her struggles with mental health and her battle with breast cancer, she never missed a choir session.
“It was the first place I’ve ever felt I belong.
“It was a lifesaver, and even now I suffer and don’t leave the house, but I will always go to choir.”
Salford City Singers are keen performers and have sung at a wide variety of events such as Media City Music and Art Festival, Salford Refugee Week, Songs of Praise, and the Start in Salford Film Launch.
Every Makers Market, the Singers get asked to perform for the residents of Salford to keep the market mood high and their voices heard.
Erica reflects back on her favourite moment performing.
“Nearly 10 years ago, both of my kids watched one of our gigs for the first time, and my son taped it on his phone. When we watched it back you could hear my daughter ‘awwing’ and ‘ooing’ every time I was singing.
“Having my children watch me do something I love was very special to me.”
However, this year a friend and member of the Salford City Singers, Barry Seddon passed away.
“He was always smiling and encouraging.” says Erica.
“Whenever we’d sing Dirty Old Town, instead of singing alongside the men, he would always come and stand by us, and by me, because he liked to sing it just a bit higher. I really miss that.”
As with all Simply Singing choirs everyone is welcome to join Salford City Singers. No experience in singing or reading music is needed, only a willingness to get involved.
Salford City Singers meet every Thursday afternoon, between 14:15 and 16:15, at The Orchard, Langley Road South, Salford, M6 6SE