The CBSO family, including the CBSO Chorus, Youth Orchestra and Youth Chorus, serve communities across the West Midlands, and have launched the initiative as a way of thanking the NHS heroes working tirelessly at this time.

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Tickets will be made available for selected future concerts at venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall and the CBSO Centre, with up to 5,000 tickets set aside. NHS workers can register their interest on the CBSO website. Full details of available concerts will be announced at a later date.

To mark the announcement, members of the CBSO Chorus have released a video performing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from their homes. The CBSO Chorus is one of the world’s great choirs – with nearly 200 voluntary members who come together to sing symphonic choral music. Around 10% of the Chorus members themselves work for the NHS.

Chorus member Dr Helen Chamberlain says: ‘In normal times an evening of singing is my favourite way to unwind from a busy day in the hospital. The CBSO Chorus is like another family where we share fabulous musical experiences - and a few drinks from time to time! At the moment the NHS is another family too - one that I am seeing a lot of. I am looking forward to many things when this crisis lessens, one of which is the joy of singing with my friends again.’

Chorus member Dr Louise Davis says: ‘Singing with the CBSO Chorus and being amongst supportive friends who all share the same intense love of music can make a difficult day disappear. We focus on singing, on creating the notes, nothing else, and the worries and stress evaporate. I often leave rehearsals full of joy, laughing and smiling and as refreshed as if I had just had a really good sleep!’

CBSO Chief Executive, Stephen Maddock, said: ‘We know that in these uncertain times music is bringing many people comfort, joy and solace. While we’re doing everything we can to keep music alive through online and digital work, we can’t wait to get back to performing for our live audiences once again here in Birmingham. And when we do, we would like to say a huge thank you to NHS workers by offering them tickets to the next concerts in our centenary season and beyond. We hope that they will be able to join us to celebrate their incredible work.’ 

The CBSO launched its centenary celebrations in September 2019, with a host of special programming, events, commissions and community initiatives, all drawing inspiration from its past and looking forward to the future of classical music. For 100 years the CBSO have brought the widest possible range of music to the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands; from the world’s greatest symphonic music to Friday Nights Classics concerts featuring the best movie sound-tracks and show tunes, fun-filled family concerts and programmes curated by the CBSO’s own team of Youth Ambassadors.