meet our big C choir

The Big C choir at Llandaff Cathedral1

The Big C is quite simply, unique.

It isn't that they've been together for just three months or that many of them had never sung before in public before.  What makes this choir so extraordinary is that all thirty two members have been on the same incredible, sometimes terrifying, journey - each and every one them is, or has recently been, in treatment for cancer.

The Big C is our 5th Tenovus choir.  Working with Exclusive TV, it was created for the Channel 4 programme, Sing For Your Life, but we have never done anything quite like this before.  The Big C is different from our other choirs as it's singers are all ages, ranging from 10 to 80 years old, have been recruited from Wales and beyond and every member - some terminal, some just diagnosed, some in remission - have all recently had, or have, cancer.

When we started our very first choir back in 2010, our pioneering research showed that singing was beneficial not only for patients' state of mind, but also helped to reduce their pain.  The research on 'The Big C' has proved that the group's social function and mental health both improved as did lung strength.  We want singing on prescription; it works!


The Big C Choir practice 2

The programme/sing for your life

From the very first week, The Big C's shared experience of this devastating disease has bound them together. Rehearsals have become joyous occasions - part choir, part support group, part exclusive club. Despite the illness or the debilitating effects of chemotherapy, The Big C singers have been reluctant to miss out on their weekly fix of choir practice.  And while their health has fluctuated, what has never wavered is their newfound love of singing.

The Big C is led by our own Cat Southall, choir mistress.

They've learned to sing, been taught by opera star and brain cancer sufferer Russell Watson, met singers as diverse as Emeli Sande and Shaun Ryder and performed at life-affirming moments like a surprise wedding proposal.

And they've had a surprise sprung on them - the climax of their story is a performance at a sell-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall... if they're ready, willing and able to sing.