Medway Skylarks

NEXT SKYLARKS Sessions at St Mary's Island Community Centre: 

Saturday 21 & 28 September 2019 

Latest Skylarks Performance: 

Leeds Castle at 'Walk for Parkinson's' event, Sunday 8 September.  We joined Canterbury and Maidstone Skylarks choirs for this performance  To see a flyer for this event, please click Here.  Video clips of some of the songs are shown below.

Recent Skylarks Performances:

Medway Neuro Arts Festival, Eastgate Gardens, Rochester, on Saturday 20 July. To see videos of this performance, please click Here. (The videos are on the 'Neuro Arts Festival' page of this website on a 'Music videos' drop-down menu).

Please scroll down for videos of other Medway Skylarks performances.

Skylarks Newsletter:  Please click HERE for the May 2019 newsletter, and HERE to see the March 2019 newsletter, both edited by Phil Bungay.

MNN has promoted the formation of this singing and movement group, in association with Professor Grenville Hancox of the Canterbury Cantata Trust and Trish Vella-Burrows of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts & Health. This therapeutic activity has been proven to be effective for those with Parkinson's Disease and the research has now been widened to include ALL other neurological conditions. Medway Skylarks is now an Associate of Canterbury Cantata Trust's 'Sing to Beat Parkinson's' network.   Medway Skylarks meet Saturday mornings (during school term times), from 10.30am to noon, at the St Mary's Island Community Centre, Island Way West, Chatham, Kent ME4 3EP.

YOU ARE VERY WELCOME TO JOIN US.  Either just turn up or drop us an email for more information:

Saturday 8 September 2019

Serenading Walkers: Hey Mr Miller

Combined Skylarks choirs sang songs to greet walkers as they returned to the start area. Click the button to the left to hear us opening with 'Hey Mr Miller'.

Show Area, with Bell & the Boots band

Professional band 'Bell and the Boots' kindly joined us for a few numbers, including Dream, Dream, Dream.  To see a video clip please press the button to the left.

Troubles of the World, Round

We finished off with an impomptu 'Troubles of the World', round, with Bell and the Boots taking one of the parts!!! Click button to the left to see a video clip.

Many thanks indeed to Nik & Trish Vella Burrows for leading the choir and to John Cornwall for guitar accompaniment.  Thanks also to Frank Geoghegan for helping to reinforce the singing, and to Phil Bungay for organising the Skylark's contribution.

It was very nice to see Junko & Tony from Canterbury again!!!

Medway Ghanaian Association Family Fun Day

Medway Skylark were invited to perform at this event on Saturday 13 July.  In the morning the participants went out on the Great Lines picking up rubbish and then congregated around the Parkinson's UK gazebo for a function that was honoured by the attendance of The Worshipful Mayor of Medway, Cllr. Habib Tejan.  In the picture you see the Mayor, together with the Lady Mayoress Mrs Bridget Tezan, joining the Skylarks in singing 'Hey, Mr Miller'.  The Ghanaian Association has adopted Medway Parkinson's Branch as their charity of the year.

We would like to thank our choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows, and accompanist John Cornwall, for coming all the way from Deal, to make this performance possible.

Canterbury: Joint Skylarks choirs to celebrate Parkinson's UK Awareness Week, 13 April 2019

Many thanks to Tony & Junko for organising this event and then welcoming Medway Skylarks into their flat for refreshments. Prof. Grenville Hancox writes: Skylarks heard singing in Rose Lane Canterbury: "Well done every one for realising the coming together this afternoon of Medway and Canterbury Skylarks. It was a great success and I am sure the collecting box for Parkinsons UK will have benefited. Thanks too for the support shown by Monday Music and Amici Chorus members.  We once again demonstrated our strap line Caring through Singing! Such enthusiasm together with such strong singing should be captured again soon". 
To the right is a video of 'Streets of London' (apologies for the wind noise).
Louise Bungay videos can be found by clicking the following links (you may need to increase volume): Dream Dream; Tzena Tzena; Can't Help Falling in Love with You.

Streets of London

We opened our set with our first public performance of Streets of London, led by Nik Vella-Burrows.

Blue Moon

Another first for us, with John Cornwall accompanying on guitar at the back!!

Dream Dream Dream

Close your eyes and you can almost hear the Everly Brothers..perhaps not, but you can hear our amazing choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows singing like a nightingale!!

Joint Medway & Chatham Skylarks performances above to help celebrate Parkinson's UK World Awareness Day (11 April) at the busy, and rather noisy, Pentagon Shopping Centre.  Many thanks indeed to Trish & Nik Vella-Burrows and John Cornwall for leading and accompanying the combined Medway & Chatham Skylarks choirs.

Many thanks also to Louise Bungay for the video recordings; the full download of all 6 songs (2.4GB) is available Here.

Parkinson's UK World Parkinson's Day Eve: Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham - 10 April 2019. Organised by PUK Medway Branch and Working Age Group.

Cllr. Vince Maple did a live Facebook broadcast to kick-off proceedings AND then  Bluebird Care kindly donated £250 to Medway Skylarks, below.

Medway Skylarks at the Medway Community Showcase, Brook Theatre, Chatham, 17 March

Medway Skylarks were invited to perform at this prestigeous event and it was a great experience for all of us; we even had a dressing room!!  Filming was not allowed in the auditorium, but Louise did take this video of us practicing Tzena, Tzena just before we went on stage.  Notice the shamrocks that we were wearing on St Patrick's Day - courtesy of Maggi Alexander - many thanks Maggi.

In addition to Tzena, we also sang Molly Malone and You Raise me Up.

Medway Skylarks performing at Medway Social Prescribing Day event on Thursday 14 March at Pentagon Shopping Centre, Chatham 

Please click the image to the right for a video clip of Medway Skylarks singing Amazing Grace. It should be added that the ambient noise levels were high, so we needed to pull out all of the stops.

Many thank to Trish Vella-Burrows for leading the choir and to John Cornwll for accompanying on guitar.

Medway Skylarks at Medway Nucleus Arts ArtFest on 1 December, Trafalgar Stage, Chatham High Street

Many thanks to Trish & Nik Vella-Burrows for leading the choir so cheerfully on rather a wet & miserable day. Thanks also to Timothy for the videos, accessed to the right.

Thank you Nucleus Arts for the invite!!

Silver Bells

Thank you so much to those Skylarks who braved the weather and put on a festive performance.

I'm Dreaming of a White Xmas

Medley: Winter Wonderland/ Rocking around the Christmas Tree/ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Apologies for those viewing on fixed screens, such as laptops & PC monitors, because landscape shots still appear in portrait - don't crick your necks watching!! For those watching on phones & tablets, just turn your screens as appropriate.

Medway Skylarks performance at the St Mary's Island Xmas Fair 2018

Medway Skylarks performed at the SMICC Xmas Fair again this year. The background hub-hub of the Fair made it quite a challenge, but clicking on the picture to the left you will see us singing 'Calypso Carol'.

Many thanks to choir leaders Nik & Trish Vella-Burrows and accompaniest John Cornwall.  Also thanks to Mark McGrevey for the song-books and Trevor Nagler for recording and editing the video.

Medway Skylarks Perform at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group AGM, 26 September 2018

We were honoured to be invited to sing at this AGM and hence be given the opportunity to promote our singing & movement 'Sing to the Beat' therapy for neurological conditions. We had an excellent EXALTATION of Skylarks, very ably lead by choir master Trish Vella-Burrows and accompanied by John Cornwall on guitar. Our final song was 'You Raise Me Up' and a video, recorded by Louise Bungay, can be seen by clicking on the image to the right.

MCCG Clinical Chairman Dr Peter Green joins Skylarks - for a photo-shoot!!!

Yes, Dr Green (far right standing) showed a genuine interest in Medway Skylarks and joined us for a photo-shoot in front of the Medway Neurological Network stall at the AGM. Many thanks to Frank Geoghegan for the excellent photo.

Shortly afterwards we did our warm-up/ practice and before you could leave on a jet plane we were performing - the rest is history.

Medway Skylarks Perform at wHoo Cares 1940's Afternoon Tea Party - a 2018 Volunteer Recognition Event, 7 September 2018

Although short on numbers, the gallant few Skylarks kept right on to the end of the road with some wartime classics. Choir leader Trish Vella-Burrows had our audience of wHoo Cares volunteers and local residents joining in whilst they enjoyed a grand tea; no wartime rations here!!! Many thanks indeed to Trish and our guitarist John Cornwall, without whom this show would not have been possible.

Pictures: Martin Chetwood

Grain Carnival & Fete, Saturday 21 July 2018

MNN had a float in the Grain Carnival promoting the Hoo Neuro-Cafes and Medway Skylarks performed a song, written especially for this event.  See our final practice of the 'Neuro-Cafe' song, by clicking the picture to the right.

To see a video of the Skylarks singing at the fete, please go to the Neuro-cafes page.  Many thanks to John Cornwall (guitar) & Trish Vella-Burrows (choir leader) for making this possible.

Medway Skylarks

Singing their socks off for 
World Parkinson's Day
11 April 2018.

Sainsbury's, Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre  ^ >>>>>>>>

John Cornwall on Guitar

Many thanks to Graham Swan for the first 3 photos

Trish Vella-Burrows leads the choir

Judith, Olive, Doreen & Maggi lead from the front

Or for a more arty presentation, see the animated slideshow.

Medway Neuro-Fair   2018 videos    >>>>>>

Hey, Mr Miller

John Kanaka

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

Many thanks to Nik Vella-Burrows, Choir-master & Guitarist & Trish


Secret chord?  For Amazing Grace, click Here
BREAKING NEWS: Prof. Grenville Hancox has participated in the 'Sing to beat Parkinson's Asia Pacific Study Symposiun, 1-3 February 2018' held in Australia.  The amazing research findings have been reported by ABC News - Australia: Parkinson's disease improves with singing, study finds.  See this report, including a video, here.

Medway Skylarks are part of a study to demonstrate that Sing to Beat Parkinson's can also help improve the symptoms of other neurological conditions, as well as Parkinson's Disease.

Medway Skylarks at the Medway Youth Trust Charity Fete on 15 August 2017

Nik (Guitar) & Trish Vella-Burrows lead this merry band of minstrels performing at this event held in Gillingham Park.

Please click image to the right to see the video  >>>>>>>>>>>

Medway Skylarks Session

Isobella from the University of Kent, Media Studies, kindly filmed a recent Skylarks Saturday morning class, and this video gives a good example of the multi-tasking singing and movement that is so beneficial - click image to the right to see the video >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Ben Odom (Benjamin William Odom 1953-2019): We are extremely sad to report the passing of Ben and our most sincere condolences are sent to his wife Janet, and Family. Ben is survived by his brothers and sister, his wife Janet, and his children Helen, Juliet, Jonathan, Becky, Jemima and Elliott. He also has two grandchildren, Harry and Clara, plus two more on the way.

A service in memory of Ben was held at St Margaret's Church, Rochester on 11 June 2019.  The fact that the church was packed was a testament in itself to how many people Ben's outstanding life has touched and influenced.  The Eulogy, read by Revd Dr Joel Love, told us of a most remarkable life.  We learnt that Ben had been a schoolboy chorister and later a choral student at St John's College Cambridge. His recordings with fellow solo chorister Roger Parker are most highly regarded - and still played on BBC Radio 3.  One such recording of 'Sanctus' and 'Benedictus' from Benjamin Britten's 'Miss Brevis' was played at this service. Later, as a freelance soloist and choral singer, Ben worked with celebrated choirs such as the Monteverdi Choir and the BBC Singers.  As well as performing, Ben was also: an ochestral conductor at Cambridge; an accomplished accompanist; a voice tutor; and Musical Director of the Marlowe Singers in Gravesend, the Tudor Consort in Rochester, Kent, and the Darent Valley Choir.

We remebered Ben at Skylarks on 25 May, singing 'The Lord's my Shepherd' and 'Abide with Me'.  Frank Geoghegan passed on condolences from our Choir Leader Trish Vella-Burrows, who unfortunately couldn't be with us.  Frank said "Ben was a lovely man and a talented musician and will be greatly missed by all - please pass on my condolences to Janet and Family."  Judith Northwood-Boorman read out a Eulogy that she had written about Ben, and this can be viewed by clicking HERE   

Ben will be so sadly missed by so many and Medway Skylark's condolences are extended once more to Janet and the Family.

Copyright (c)2018, All Rights Reserved.

Web design & editing: Martin Nagler

Last Update: 15 September 2019, MJN
Hit counter: 79687