Just The Tonic with Katie Derham

The power of music to help improve all the really good things in life

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  • 7. Just The Tonic - Celebrating World Singing Day

    In a special edition of Just The Tonic, Katie celebrates World Singing Day 2022 which takes place on Saturday 15 October. We hear how singing was a superpower for opera singer extraordinaire Nicky Spence as it helped him get through hard times when he was young. Soprano and National Treasure Lesley Garrett tells Katie about the health benefits singing brings to people with Alzheimers and she even gives us a singing lesson! Don't think you can sing? Well, think again. The People's Orchestra's Choral Director, Ula Weber says anyone can sing!

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  • 6. Just The Tonic - Music is for Celebrations

    In this episode, Katie chats to Kit de Waal about her fabulous new memoir, Without Warning and Only Sometimes. It's an honest and funny account of her childhood, growing up in Birmingham with her four brothers and sisters, her Irish mother who brought her children up as Jehovah's Witnesses, and her father from St Kitts in the Caribbean. Kit didn't start writing until she was in her 50s and has some excellent tips for getting started. Laurie Stanton was a boy soprano in his hometown of Port Talbot in Wales. He took up singing again after the death of his wife left him feeling really low. Now he sings with Morriston Orpheus Choir, recognised as one of the best male voice choirs in Wales. They've sung all over the world and even in front of the Queen. Laurie tells us how singing in the choir has given him a new lease of life. And we hear about all the benefits of singing from the new members of The People's Orchestra Show Choirs who sung recently at the Birmingham 2022 celebrations for the Commonwealth Games. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to find out about the stars we have lined up for next series of Just The Tonic with Katie Derham. Thanks for listening!
  • 3. Just The Tonic - The Taste of the Opera

    Katie meets singer extraordinaire Nicky Spence whose had an eventful year so far, full of personal ups and downs. His career is going from strength to strength – he's sung with all the major opera companies – but, he tells Katie, he'd give it all up to appear on … tune in to find out! AbracadOpera!, a new show for Sky Kids, is all about introducing young people to the opera for the first time. How did it go down with primary school pupils from Croydon whose tastes in music are a million miles away from Verdi and Wagner? We went to their school to find out. Beth Warnock, Head of Learning at English National Opera tells us why branching out into broadcast creates new outreach opportunities. The Proms features musicians at the top of their game in concert at the Albert Hall. Most of us can only dream about reaching their standard, but that shouldn't stop us from having a go! The People's Orchestra's Rusty Players orchestra gives opportunities to new musicians or to those who've dusted off an instrument that's been lying in a cupboard for years. Some of their newest members tell us what they get out of playing together in the orchestra. 
  • 4. The Power of Poetry with Ian McMillan

    We're all about the word this week on Just The Tonic. Katie meets the Bard of Barnsley football club and presenter of BBC Radio Three's The Verb, poet Ian McMillan. He's on a mission to get everyone in the world writing - then he'll have a day off!We hear from young poets at Raddlebarn Primary School in Selly Oak whose poems feature in the Birmingham Children's Poetry Festival. Head of Education at Birmingham Cathedral tells us about the festival and we hear from Birmingham's Poet Laureate Casey Bailey.And we're blown away by the youngest member of The People's Orchestra, 8 year-old cellist Aurora Chin Chan!
  • 3. Help Musicians with Lesley Garrett

    Soprano extraordinaire and National Treasure Lesley Garrett has had an inspirational career in music. Support from the charity Help Musicians got her back on her feet after she suffered a serious illness in her twenties. She chats to Katie Derham about her work as a Help Musicians' Ambassador and pulls no punches in her view of the lack of government support for the arts. Like Soweto Kinch and Xhosa Cole, Alicia Hillman is continuing in the tradition of great Birmingham saxophonists. She tells Katie how support from Help Musicians has been vital for her career. We get a sneak preview of 'We Are One' which The People's Orchestra will be performing at Birmingham 2022 and composer John Koutsalinis tells us about his inspiration for the piece. We hear from Dean Williams from Orchestre Philharmonia Mundi de Montreal who'll be joining The People's Orchestra for their performance and reporter Jamie Parker catches us with players as they rehearse for the big day on Sunday 24th July in Birmingham.
  • 2. The Positive Power of Music in Hospitals and Care with Sir Richard Stilgoe

    Katie is joined by star of stage and screen Sir Richard Stilgoe to chat about how live music can make all the difference to people in hospital and care homes. Richard's Orpheus Centre uses the performing arts to empower young adults with disabilities. He tells Katie how rapping helped one young man get an important message across to his dad. Music in Hospitals and Care improves health and wellbeing through the healing power of live music. Samantha Philp, Activities Co-ordinator, at the Eden Ward in Royal Edinburgh Hospital says it's been a lifeline for her patients to have musicians back on the ward again after lockdown. As they gear up for performances at the Birmingham 2022 festival, players from The People's Orchestra tell reporter Jamie Parker about the positive impact playing in a community orchestra has on their lives.
  • 1. Positive Power of the Arts with Carlos Acosta

    Katie's back with a new series of Just The Tonic, the podcast that shines a light on the positive power of the arts. In series one, we looked at how music can help mental and physical well-being and in this series, we'll explore the benefits of getting involved in other arts forms too. For this episode, Katie's stepping back into the fabulous world of dance - she was in the Strictly final with Anton du Beke! Last year, Eastenders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was the first deaf contestant to take part and, with her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice, she waltzed her way from Walford to the Strictly crown. Rose did so much to break down the stereotype that deaf people can't dance and can't enjoy music and that's exactly what dancers Billy Read and Sarah from Critical Mass want to do.  We hear from Billy about his Forbidden Identity performance at Birmingham's International Dance Festival which explores growing up as a Deaf child in a hearing world. Sarah talks about the huge benefits she gets from dancing with Critical Mass, an inclusive dance participation project bringing together young people from across the West Midlands with and without disabilities. And Katie chats to Cuban dance legend Carlos Acosta about his extraordinary life and his plans for the future as Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Plus we get a sneak peak of their fantastic show at the Birmingham International Dance Festival! We'll be following The People's Orchestra as they prepare for their performances at the Birmingham 2022 festival in the run-up to the Commonwealth Game and Chief Executive Sarah Marshall tells Katie what they have in store.