Wednesday, 24 April 2013
60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Jane Silver-Corren
JANE Silver-Corren was born in London, growing up in Roehampton before going to boarding school – an experience she disliked. A keen singer from an early age, Jane went on to become festivals co-ordinator in Hounslow, London before orchestrating the Chard Festival of Women in Music. Realising the multiple benefits of singing, Jane retrained as an occupational therapist specialising in music in therapy. Now living in Bridport, she set up Singing for the Brain and Rising Voices both using the power of singing to improve lives. She is currently Bridport’s Town Crier.
WHAT is Singing for the Brain?
About five years ago I heard how singing was being used to support people with dementia so I approached the local branch of The Alzheimers society to support me to train to run these groups. I trained in Bristol and shortly after set up three groups in Dorchester, Weymouth and Bridport that have now been going for four to five years.
WHAT is Rising Voices?
Rising Voices started at The Light House in Poole supported by the NHS in January. It is a singing group to support people living with cancer. We have started a small off shoot branch in Bridport that will meet on alternate Thursdays 3pm to 4pm in The Front Room in Downes Street, Bridport.
WHAT makes singing so beneficial?
Much research has been done to show that singing has a positive effect on those coping with long-term illness. The groups are very friendly, supportive, stimulating and uplifting. It is also good exercise and good for your breathing.
WHAT if you can’t sing very well?
Anybody can enjoy singing. It doesn’t matter what you sound like. The more you do it, the easier it will become. In the groups the stronger singers support those who are less confident. It creates a good feeling of community.
WHAT styles of singing do you listen to?
I like all styles of music. I am particularly keen on world music as it is all so different and interesting. Classical music isn’t my favorite but I still enjoy some of it. I love music you can dance to. It’s fun to sing and dance at the same time and we do some of that in my singing groups. I am very keen on disco music but unfortunately we don’t do that much of it in the groups.
WHO are your favourite singers?
I really enjoy soulful voices, like George Benson and Stevie Wonder. Female voices, Oumou Sangare from Senegal is one of my favorites and Joni Mitchel. One of my favourite bands in Arrested Development - yes they are still going. Speech, their lead singer is really fantastic. I like really good rap and hip hop.
WHAT is so special about singing in a group?
Singing in a group rather than alone is great for harmonies, moral support and a sense of community.
WHO in the world would you most like to encourage to sing?
People who feel lonely and isolated. I would encourage them to join a group or just go a long and have a sing song anywhere - folk clubs, places of worship, etc. It really cheers you up. Maybe we should get a few politicians to have a sing song – it might lighten them up a bit. Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and David Cameron in three part harmony, fab.
IS THERE a concert you have sung in that sticks out?
The best concert I have sung in was in St Catherine’s Chapel, Abbotsbury with Sammy Hurden’s singing group and musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra singing songs about the Jurassic coast. Everything about it was fantastic. It was part of a series of concerts called Jurassic Journeys.
WHO would you most like to sing with - living or dead?
I’d like to have had a bit of a sing with my dad. He really liked certain songs, such as One Wheel on my Wagon, and I was Born Under a Wandering Star. But I don’t think we ever sung together. It’s a bit late now as he’s been dead for six years, so I’ll make the most of singing with other people in my family and friends instead. My mum knows loads of songs and when I’m stuck on a song I always ring her for help! I wouldn’t mind singing with The Wombles - maybe live at Glastonbury.
THE mic is yours. The band is ready. A hush descends. What’s the song you sing?
I’d sing the Labi Siffre song Something Inside So Strong as it’s such a brilliant song with a fantastic message. Or else a new song I’ve been teaching about a glow worm because it’s so silly and makes people laugh.
. . . AND who is in the front row of the audience?
Probably my dad because he’d enjoy it and be proud, and my partner and kids. And my parrot Ottie Lottie who died a couple of years ago, he’d be on someone’s shoulder, and Pretzel my dog of course.
What is the first song you learned to sing?
Probably Teddy Bears picnic, or The Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace. The first song I remember enjoying is Remember You’re A Womble. I still know it off by heart
Anyone wanting information about any of Jane’s singing groups can ring her on 07887 675161.