Vocalise was a unique new singing and signing project, based on our extremely successful Hands and Voices choir, that was set up in partnership with the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire branch of Live Music Now.
We have delivered this project twice, once in a special school in Doncaster for a group with moderate learning difficulties and disabilities, and once in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, where the choir was an inclusive group of primary school pupils and special school pupils. Over 10 weeks the choir developed their singing skills with the professional musicians from Live Music Now, and their signing skills with a learning disabled apprentice from Accessible Arts and Media and their mentor.
This model of working has been recognised as a model of good practice within music education, and was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Education in 2009, alongside the Welsh National Opera and Liverpool Philharmonic.
It has been wonderful to have seen and heard the transforming and enlightening effect that singing and signing has had on those disabled and with learning difficulties amongst us. It is also good it is going further afield. I am so pleased, along with all our helpers, that the profound work of Accessible Arts and Media has been acknowledged - and shortlisted by the Royal Philharmonic Society. Alan Hacker OBE, Patron of Accessible Arts and Media