Just The Tonic with Katie Derham


Music Builds Communities with Emily Watson

Season 1, Ep. 7

It's a Christmas edition of Just The Tonic with Katie Derham!

Actor Emily Watson chats to Katie about her support for The Citizens of the World Choir. Emily, Oscar-nominated for her role as virtuoso cellist Jacqueline de Pré, is their patron. They provide a lifeline for refugees and migrants arriving alone in the UK, helping them integrate through the power of music.

Musical Director Becky Dell tells Katie about the growth of the choir - from its roots in the Calais Jungle to singing with the Royal Opera Chorus.

Episode 2 was all about the positive benefits of being in a choir. For members of the Citizens of the World choir, it's not just about singing, it's about becoming part of a community. 

Xmas is all about spending time with your family. But for Aref, and Naomi, who are in the UK on their own, their families are far away. They tell Katie how the choir has helped them integrate into their new communities and Londoner Alison chats about the positive effect it has on her.

The People's Orchestra have had their first Christmas concert in two years – luckily they held it at the beginning of December - it's the first time the orchestras and the choirs have all played together. Their Production Assistant Jamie Parker caught up with some as the excitement was building in rehearsals. 

More Episodes


Inspirational Music Educators with Nicola Benedetti

Season 1, Ep. 6
Katie Derham explores how music education for children can be Just The Tonic. She finds out from Nicola Benedetti how music-making can help young people learn all sorts of life skills. Nicola has long been a champion of making music lessons widely available and, through her Benedetti Foundation, provided a lifeline for young musicians during the pandemic. The enormous benefits of giving children a good music education are well-recognised. Neavan Lobban, twenty-two-year-old principal conductor with The People's Orchestra attended a state school that specialised in music education. He firmly believes that instrumental lessons should be provided free of charge. Sistema Scotland's Big Noise projects have been helping young people in deprived communities in Scotland for a number of years, providing music lessons at no cost. Based on the renowned El Sistema system in Venezuela, their motto is social change through music. Senior musician Jo Ashcroft has worked at the Big Noise project in Raploch, Stirling for many years and she's seen first-hand how children who attend music lessons regularly do better at school. Symone and Scott Hutchison are living proof! They've been attending Big Noise lessons since primary school and now they're on course for a career in music. There are many ways in which making music can have a lasting impact on young people's lives. Find out more when Katie meets inspirational music educators in this week's Just The Tonic.