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Signing choirs assemble for special concert in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 11:23 26 April 2015 | UPDATED: 13:49 28 April 2015

The Lowestoft Signing Choir.

The Lowestoft Signing Choir.

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A special concert, which attracted top signing choirs from across the country, has been hailed a huge success in Lowestoft.

Lowestoft Mayoral signing choir concert. Pictures: Nick Butcher Lowestoft Mayoral signing choir concert. Pictures: Nick Butcher

The Mayoral Signing Choir Concert was held at the Waterlane Leisure Centre on Saturday.

The event, which was attended by nine choirs, is thought to be the first time in the UK a concert of its kind has been performed and attended.

Over 300 people watched the performers, of all ages, sign the words to different genres of music.

Each choir, some of which had travelled from Dorset, Derby and Radcliffe, performed two songs in an event organised by the town mayor Stephen Ardley.

The diversity of song choices was clear to see; the Lowestoft Signing Choir, who are a registered charity having formed in 1998, opted for a number from pop group One Direction and other songs featured Abba and Queen.

One third of the choir have a hearing related loss or condition.

Co-ordinator Elizabeth Bloice said: “This is highlight of the Lowestoft signing choir’s whole career; a dream come true.

“We have done competitions before and met other choirs, but it has been on a small scale.

“Our aims are to promote sign language and a positive image of the deaf community and break down barriers as deafness can be really isolating.”

Mr Ardley described how the event really gained momentum over the past few months.

“When we sent the invites out we were expecting three of four choirs to reply, but we got nine.

“Everyone was very excited as this was a chance to see other choirs perform from across the country.”

“As far as we know, this is the first ever sign choir concert to be held in the UK.”

Stuart Everett, managing director of Sentinel Leisure Trust said: “It’s a cracking event for the town and the area and it’s an honour for Waterlane Leisure centre to host this event.

British Sign Language is used by approximately seventy thousand people every day, as their first preferred means of communication. Is it hoped that other events and concerts can be created as a result of the new partnerships formed.

Claire Gebbett, conductor of the Norfolk Signing Choir added: “We have been practicing for a couple of months and it’s lovely to see deaf and hearing people mixing and using sign language so everyone can access the music and have a nice afternoon.”

Are you organising a community event? Email: joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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