Young cancer survivors wow with live concert

A group of young musicians proved cancer can’t get in the way of talent after composing their own music and performing it at a live concert.

Classic FM workshop

CLIC Sargent organised a week-long workshop where professional musicians held a series of master classes for 18 young people who have all had their lives turned upside down by cancer. The event was funded by The Classic FM Foundation through funds raised during the 2012 Classic FM Christmas Appeal.

After creating their own pieces, the young people performed a concert at Wiltshire Music Centre, in Bradford on Avon, hosted by Jane Jones, who presents the Full Works Concert each weekday evening on Classic FM.

During the week the young people used Beethoven’s 4th Concerto as their inspiration to create new pieces of music in a range of genres, which they performed during the first half of the concert.

The second half featured one of the course mentors, Cordelia Williams, a BBC Piano winner of Young Musician of the Year, performing the concerto, accompanied by the CLIC Sargent Orchestra, made up of local musicians and students from the Royal College of Music.

Cordelia said: “I really enjoyed getting to know all the young people and their talents. It’s been amazing to see how important music has been for them during their illnesses and the way it has helped them move on with their lives.

“I found it very inspiring and the collaborative aspect really impressed me, there’s been some really fantastic music created.”

Wen Stone, 23, a fine art student, has been playing the oboe since childhood. After becoming ill she lost the confidence to play but said the CLIC Sargent workshop helped her rediscover her love for music.

She said: “There has been a fantastic mix of people from all sorts of musical backgrounds. It’s been really good fun. It’s really helped me with my confidence. I hadn’t played for three years and when I did go back to the orchestra at university I was so tired by the second half I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up. Coming here has made me realise I can do it.”

Singer songwriter Tom Barber, 24, had leukaemia as a child but his illness still impacts on his life. He said: “It’s been great to meet so many other young people and share experiences. We had some great opportunities during the workshop to learn new skills and there were open mic sessions each evening. I also had the chance to record my new song which was incredible.”

Phil Day, CLIC Sargent’s music coordinator who organised the event, said: “Cancer can be very isolating so it’s been great getting everyone together like this through a shared love of music. Everyone has worked together really well and the fantastic music they’ve created has blown us away. Watching them perform at the concert alongside Cordelia was a very proud moment.

“CLIC Sargent supports children and young people throughout their cancer journey and we hope to be able to organise more inspiring events like this in the future.”

For more information, an interview or images please contact Helen Thomas on 020 8752 2855 or email Outside office hours please call 08448 481189.

About childhood cancer
Every day, 10 children and young people in the UK hear the shocking news they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent
CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families. We provide clinical, practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. For more information visit

About The Classic FM Foundation
The Classic FM Foundation aims to bring the healing power of music to sick, disabled and vulnerable children all over the UK. The Foundation has funded these music workshops to give talented young survivors of cancer the chance to work with music professionals to improve their musical ability, build friendships and grow their confidence following cancer.

Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.