The wheels of commerce in Leeds are turning to the sound of an uplifting community choir that is filling the city’s busy business district with song.
Run by professional musician and choir leader Nic Slack, the choir features workers from offices all around Leeds who perform well-know rock and pop songs in three-part harmony at Wellington Place every Thursday lunchtime.
Buoyed by the success of TV show The Choir, the venture is proving increasingly popular with people who have found that the ultimate screen break is making them happier, healthier and more relaxed.
Mr Slack, who featured as a choir leader in the 2011 ITV documentary The Choir that Rocks, came up with the idea for a weekly no-commitment, no-audition, turn-up-and-sing lunchtime session for anyone who loves singing.
The choir has already seen a significant amount of interest from local companies, including corporate law firm Shulmans LLP which has promoted the benefits to its own employees, many of whom are now choir members, and the wider Wellington Place business community.
“The spirit and sound of the Wellington Place Workplace Choir is amazing; you just can’t beat singing with a fantastic bunch of people in a really great space,” said Mr Slack. “I wanted to set the choir up in the heart of the city to open it up to people working in surrounding businesses, giving them something a bit different to do at lunchtime.
“The benefits of joining a choir go far beyond merely the fun to be had in really belting out a tune.
“Research shows that singing is good for your heart and simultaneously works both sides of the brain, also releasing endorphins which leaves you feeling uplifted, alert and helping to reduce stress. What’s more, singing as part of a group can bring about a calming effect that is as beneficial to your health as yoga.
“And, of course, it’s a brilliant way to have fun with your colleagues and meet new people.”
Tim Halstead, a managing partner at Shulmans who sings in the Workplace Choir, said: “The choir has been a brilliant addition to Wellington Place, bringing together our colleagues and other business people in the area, and singing our hearts out once a week. It’s really therapeutic and great fun – I recommend it to everyone.”
Dominique Simcox, marketing manager for MEPC, who are undertaking and managing the Wellington Place development, added: “It’s great to see people coming together to form the choir.
“Their enthusiasm, passion and energy is infectious and it’s become an integral part of the community spirit at Wellington Place.
“What’s more, it truly represents our belief in the importance of wellbeing at work and our conscious efforts to help people feel healthier and happier during their working day.”
The choir meets in the MEPC Marketing Suite in Wellington Place at 12.30pm every Thursday and welcomes singers from anywhere in the city.
Mr Slack also runs choir sessions for the public, So Choir, in Leeds and Wakefield. For more information about So Choir, or details on how to set up your own workplace choir, click here