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Singing for a good cause
A Paphos rock choir raises spirits and money for charity discovers BEJAY BROWNE
Singing is widely believed to lift the spirits and its certainly working for one Paphos resident, who says the pastime is helping her cope with grueling cancer treatment.
Karen Roe was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment, but she says singing with the Paphos Zingers “is her oxygen”.
The attractive, bubbly forty-something has only missed a couple of rehearsals and performances in the last few months and says she draws immense strength from singing with the group.
“I’ve been with the Zingers since they started but we have only been performing live since May last year.” She added, “We are very much a family and the mix of people in the Zingers is so varied – from 14 up to retirees. We all get on really well and our songs are as eclectic as we are.”
The aim of the choir is to have fun and raise funds for charity. The Paphos cancer patients support group was singled out as the Zingers chosen charity at the beginning of this year; since when two choir members have required their services.
“We are probably the only rock choir in Paphos and maybe in Cyprus. We have thirty plus members and we basically sing for enjoyment and to raise funds for charity,” says the group’s musical director Ali Harding.
There are currently around 20 women and ten men in the choir, but they are always looking out for new voices. “People don’t have to audition. If you enjoy singing come along and have a go,” she says.
“We want to sing with a zing. We don’t stand with words looking down, we’re animated, we move, we harmonise and Ali brings it all together,” adds Karen.
None of the Zingers has a professional background in singing, with the exception of vocal coach Melanie Ballard, who has a BA Hons in music and popular music. “Melanie’s input is invaluable, she helps us immensely and she polishes us for our performances,” says Karen.
The rock choir sings a variety of styles and numbers, dating from as far back as the 1940s to the present day. New songs in their repertoire include hits by the Beatles, Adele, Susan Boyle and songs from popular shows.
ZING GB is a fund raising evening coming up in July and will raise money for the Paphos cancer patients support group.
“This event is very important for us and to me especially,” says Karen. “We do a lot for charity and there are many good ones, but the Paphos cancer patients support group is a really fantastic charity. We want to raise as much money as we can, and the event is based around everything British, as it’s the Olympics and the diamond jubilee this year.”
The night will include a music quiz, a raffle, an auction and a full entertainment programme by the Zingers. Guests are encouraged to don red, white and blue outfits and wave their flags.
“The evening’s vocal programme will consist of three separate sections. The first is called ‘Going for Gold’ and songs will have a connection to the Olympics and Euro 2012.The second part is titled ‘Lovely Jubbly’ and all of the songs will have a diamond jubilee theme and the final section is called, ‘Mightly Blighty” and we will perform various songs relating to the UK - it will be a trip down memory lane,” explains Ali.
The Zingers have also started a new service called a Zingergramme. “Many people have a special song relating to an anniversary or birthday. We can be booked to perform a favourite song and will turn up wherever needed and sing,” says Karen. “We keep our clothes on though.”
The Paphos Cancer Patients support Group was formed in June 1995, with the aim of helping the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends. It provides financial assistance and donates medical equipment to the home care nursing service in Paphos.
“The Cancer patients support staff should be given awards of recognition and the nurses are fantastic; they go beyond the call of duty. The association offers so much, not just for the patient but the families as well and there is also a free helpline manned by volunteers,” says Karen.
“Being part of this group has really helped and motivated me and singing is great therapy, even if it is in the privacy of your own bathroom”.
ZING GB will be held on Saturday July 21 at 8pm at the Kouinta Café Theatre in Konia, known as The Old Kamaroudi. Tickets are €5, all of which goes to the charity as the Zingers meet all other costs themselves. The Zingers rehearse every Monday evening from 6.30pm for two hours at the same venue. For further information and tickets call 99 370103
Cancer patients support helpline Monday to Friday 9am - 1pm. Tel: 97 760989