A group of five young cancer survivors who met through the CLIC Sargent Music Programme are embarking on a Christmas UK tour.
The five-piece, travelling under the name CLIC Sargent Singers, will perform at six fundraising events for the charity, which supports young people with cancer.
They will be fronted by jazz and opera singer Lydia Haynes, who feared she would never sing again after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011, aged 16. However, she recovered and her career went from strength to strength. She recently performed at the BBC Proms.
She said: “As the cancer was so close to my vocal cords I was told there was a chance I would never speak again never mind sing, which was devastating.
“But I beat cancer, I’m singing better than ever and I can’t wait to tour together with my friends in support of CLIC Sargent.”
She will be joined by George Stephenson, Veronica Stanwell, Harry Lehane and Jacob Cracknell, as they perform together during CLIC Sargent fundraising events between December 4 and 10.
Starting at The Sage Gateshead, the tour will see the group perform together at the Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Norwich St Peter Mancroft Church, Exeter Cathedral and Royal Albert Hall.
CLIC Sargent’s Music Programme sees young people take part in day workshops or residential trips where professionals help them improve their performing and songwriting abilities.
Veronica, 23, from London, had just graduated and was looking forward to getting started as an actress when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. CLIC Sargent provided financial and emotional support. Since her treatment her acting career has been going from strength to strength.
She said: “When I received a grant straight after my diagnosis I was so touched by the generosity. I knew this was a charity I wanted to support.
“I’m really looking forward to the Christmas gigs. It’s going to be hard work getting everyone together and the songs ready, but I think it will be great to get on stage together again. I have wonderful memories from the music workshop and can’t wait to make more on the tour.”
Jacob, 20, from Leeds, was supported by CLIC Sargent following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma one week after leaving home for university.
He said: “People don’t understand how isolating cancer can be. I’ve been in a kind of limbo for years and when everyone around you is getting on with their lives and you’re just waiting, it can be really horrible.
“The music workshop was a really great experience, everyone was there for their shared love of music and in such a comfortable environment we all achieved a huge amount. A fantastic performance opportunity like this is another real confidence boost for me now that I have restarted my music course.”
Harry, 24, from Bognor Regis, said: “I was blown away when I realised what we will be doing on the tour. I can’t believe that we will be performing with such talented musicians and that we will be at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s just amazing.”
George, 23, from Plymouth, said: “There was just a great feeling at the Music Programme. You get to meet some brilliant people, who understand what you’re going through. We basically lived music for the whole time.”
Phil Day, CLIC Sargent’s Music Coordinator, said: “It will be wonderful to see these talented young musicians performing together. They are a great group and it’s brilliant to see the bond’s they’ve formed during and since the workshop.
“The Music Programme is about helping young people to be creative, and focus on enjoyment and musical expression – defining themselves with music and performance, rather than being defined by their illness. I know the tour is going to be a huge success and a wonderful experience for them all.”
The group will perform at:
- A Musical Jamboree at Sage Gateshead on 4 December
- CLIC Sargent Hospitals Christmas Carol Concert at Manchester Bridgewater Hall on 5 December and 6 December
- The CLIC Sargent Christmas Celebration at Royal Albert Hall on 7 December
- CLIC for Christmas 2016 at Exeter Cathedral on 9 December
- St Peter Mancroft Church in Norwich on 10 December.
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