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25 January 2019, 10:45
This baby-friendly choir helps mums relax, and they love the tunes too
Meet the singing teacher who has helped dozens of new mums in her local community by giving them a chance to be themselves again and let off some much-needed steam through song.
Natalie Veal set up a unique baby friendly choir in Bristol two years ago.
The class is one of three that she runs as part of the Melody Makers Choir, named after her first daughter.
She first set up a special baby friendly class on a Tuesday morning after seeing what struggles fellow mums were facing: “The choir is all about mums doing something for themselves.
"Mums are usually always looking to do activities to entertain their babies and young children. I just wanted to change the focus back on to the mum.
"It is important that my ladies are able to forget about nappies and bottles for an hour and focus instead on feeling energised and uplifted.
“My mums come along and we all sit in a circle and place the babies in the middle while we sing uplifting pop songs. The babies look back at their mothers in wonder.
"Either that, or they start screaming and crying. Either way we roll with it!” laughs Natalie.
The wider impact of the group is undeniable.
“It’s amazing for their general wellbeing. One of my mums told me that coming to the baby friendly choir is the only thing she actually looks forward to all week. She has postnatal depression.”
As well as the baby-friendly choir, Natalie has an evening choir where both men and women of all ages are welcome. At least 60 people from across the city come along ranging in age from 15 to their late sixties.
“I had been doing the baby-friendly choir for a year and then felt ready to open up to the wider community. There is nothing more powerful than getting a community of people together to sing.
"The younger folk like singing with the older ones and vice versa.”
Natalie and her group of singers decided they wanted to give back and last month released a song together with a local school to celebrate the NHS in its 70th year to raise money for Southmead Hospital.
We Are The Same Inside by Melody Makers Choir and Horfield Primary School Choir for the NHS was released on November 19.
The choir is being supported by TSB partners in the South West region.
Money raised from downloads will be donated to Southmead Hospital Charity to support patients and fund medical research and new equipment at North Bristol NHS Trust.
The song was composed and written by Natalie Veal with lyric support from choir member Natalie Sital-Singh.
We Are The Same Inside captures the ethos of an inclusive and dedicated health service.
“Every member of the choir - the musicians, the children of Horfield Primary School and myself have a connection to the hospital and we all have put a lot of love into this song, it’s our way of thanking the hospital staff and giving back to our community.
The message is clear, that from whatever background we come from we are all the same inside.
“We hope everyone in Bristol, and beyond, will download the song to celebrate our NHS – it’s a small thing but it can make a big difference to healthcare now and in the future.”
TSB are all about people helping people. That’s why they are proud to share stories like these.