Emily Renshaw-Kidd takes up the reins as Artistic Director of Canterbury Cantata Trust
Following over 10 years as founder and Artistic Director of Canterbury Cantata Trust, Professor Grenville Hancox MBE has handed over the role to his successor Emily Renshaw-Kidd. Grenville has been a long-time mentor, inspiration and friend to Emily through her music degrees at Canterbury Christ Church University and their numerous musical partnerships; they share the same passion for and ethos of “caring through singing”. Following a handover period, Emily is now working as Artistic Director for the charity and will begin to undertake the tasks that this role presents, acting as a principal singing ambassador for the charity. We thank Grenville for his huge dedication to the advancement of music for wellbeing and the trust is delighted that he has accepted the position of Honorary President of Canterbury Cantata Trust.
Emily in action at the tenth anniversary celebrations
Emily said: “I am extremely honoured and excited to become the new Artistic Director for Canterbury Cantata Trust. My present involvement with the trust as Musical Director of the Canterbury Cantata Choir and lead facilitator for Canterbury Skylark’s Sing to Beat Parkinson’s group gives me a deep understanding and admiration for the trust, whilst giving me plenty of ideas for building and developing relationships and projects in the future. My involvement in several other local singing groups and my role as Director of Music Langton Boys’, will enable us to create even more new opportunities for bringing the community together in a caring way, through singing and music. The Langton’s recognised methodology for Singing with Parkinson’s and encourage other people far and wide to become facilitators and recognise the benefits of music on many health conditions.”
The launch of the Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy in Canterbury was a great success, receiving excellent coverage and the Skylark’s singing session, led by Emily, was mentioned by Mark Mardell, a member of the podcast group,”
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“The all singing, all dancing centre is now launched! Ever since I first heard about it I thought the Parkinson Centre for integrative therapy in Canterbury was a good idea. But visiting it in person convinced me it is a brilliant one”
Pathway Social Group provides a social community, stemming from (but not exclusive to) PCIT membership – but is open to anyone with a neurological condition along with those all support them. Pathway drop-in sessions provide the opportunity to relax and chat in a welcoming environment, have a slice of cake and plan future social activities.
Next Drop in sessions at PCIT in Canterbury:
Francis and Peter will next be available in the social area at the Centre on:-
Monday 4th September - 13:00 until 16:00
Thursday 14th September - 9:00 until 13:00
One of Sing to Beat Singing Leaders, Nicki Kennedy, is based in Jersey. Wetwheels Jersey, the Variety Sailing Trust, Aureole Music and Parkinson’s Jersey organised a day out on the water for the Sparky Parkies, the choir for people living with Parkinson’s. Sea Shanties and other music were sung on this floating stage.
Run by Nicki Kennedy, of Aureole Music, in collaboration with Parkinson’s Jersey, the choir normally meets on Friday afternoons to sing together and to work with speech and language therapist Sarah Lock to combat the negative effects that the illness can have on speech, voice and swallowing.
Dina Rogan, operations director of Wetwheels, said they were thrilled to be involved, having previously welcomed members of the Parkinson’s Society onboard Wetwheels and worked with the Aureole Choir when they raised funds with a sea shanty recording.
‘This is a great collaboration and one I am very much looking forward to.
Bringing together the benefits of both being on the sea and singing is sure to make for a delightful experience,’ she said.
Nicola Wydenbach, Director of Sing to Beat training has been working as Musical Director for HerStory an opera film featuring the creative talents of 85 members of the UK Parkinson’s community. The piece incorporated music, libretto, choreography and visual art co-created with members of the Parkinson’s community in a series of projects that began back in 2019. In the words of our original cast, the aim of the piece was ‘to show the world what people with Parkinson’s can do.
With support from Arts Council England, working with partners Britten Pears Arts, English National Opera, Trinity Laban and MuMo Creative, a film of the opera was made for launch on World Parkinson’s Day 2023.
To create the film, specialist Parkinson’s practitioners led a series of singing, dance and art workshops in Suffolk, London, Sussex, Oxford and online enabling around 120 participants to learn repertoire from HerStory, and/or create visual art for animation. Throughout autumn 2022 our film-making team visited each region to film and record sections of the opera.
Supported by Britten Pears Arts, we recorded & filmed members of the East Suffolk Skylarks at the Kiln in Snape Maltings, with Sing to Beat leaders Rob Gildon & Steph Wakeman as well as movement director Sarah Lewis.
We were fortunate to have the support of both Trinity Laban & English National Opera to film our London-based cast under the expert supervision of project director Nicola Wydenbach & dance artist Maria da Luz Ghoumrassi.
In Oxford we worked with the lovely MuMo group filming at Oxford Town Hall courtroom & dance sections at Wesley Memorial Hall with artists Nia Williams, Louisa Dalton & Roosa Leimu-Brown.
Finally, in Sussex we worked with two singing groups run by Sing to Beat leader Debra Skeen; the Tremorlos and Cuckoos, to film the opera’s drinking song in the dining room of The Dorset pub in Lewes. Performers sported nautical stripes and even brought along a collection of their own tankards.
The film was first screened at Snape Maltings as part of the 2023 Aldeburgh Festival, where we also led intergenerational singing workshops with the East Suffolk Skylarks Parkinson’s singing group and local primary school children.
In July 2023, Project Director Nicola Wydenbach and Artistic Director Amy Mallett headed to Barcelona, to share the learning from 4 years of HerStory projects at the 6th World Parkinson’s Congress.