News: Music for the NHS

Published: 11 May 2020

News: Music for the NHS

Cultural groups across Northern Ireland have come together to pay tribute to frontline workers in a series of online musical performances. Churchill Fellow Brian Dougherty (2012) helped advise on the project which was broadcast on the BBC.

Marching bands, highland dancers, musicians and singers have joined together to produce a series of videos with performances paying tribute to the NHS and other key workers. The videos, produced by the North-West Cultural Partnership, have been shared on social media each week and have received a hugely positive reception. 

One of the videos, created by The Londonderry Bands Forum, featured a performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which was picked up in a report by BBC Newsline. Fifty-two performers of all ages from a dozen bands across Northern Ireland recorded their parts to this well-known song from the safety of their homes.

Fellow Brian Dougherty is a strategic advisor to the North-West Cultural Partnership and helped guide the project, which was also designed to keep cultural groups active during the lockdown. He said, “The videos were important as a tribute to NHS Frontline workers and provided our staff and students with a continued focus and opportunity to showcase their ongoing training.”

The North-West Cultural Partnership was born out of Brian’s Fellowship research. When he returned from his travels to the USA in 2013, Brian co-ordinated the creation of the Londonderry Bands Forum. This aims to promote marching band culture, promote peace-building and help train performers. In 2016, using a partnership model from his Fellowship, Brian and the team expanded the concept to include broader forms of cultural expression - drama, highland dance, other musical forms and historical teaching. This broader group became the North-West Cultural Partnership, the organisation behind these videos.

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