A mother is set to achieve her ‘beat cancer’ goal next month when she performs a concert at a Shropshire school.
Bells Lewers, from Chester, has been battling bowel cancer for a year and throughout treatment the 55 year-old part time singer promised herself she would perform in concert again when able to.
And she will now be performing the upbeat, high energy Handel’s Dixit Dominus at Ellesmere College Choral Society’s concert in March – with all proceeds donated to Cancer Research UK.
Bells said: “I performed Dixit Dominus in a concert in October 2022 and it was one of the first times I’d stepped out to be a soloist in a concert of that magnitude. I got the recording of it just after I was diagnosed the following January.
“I was in hospital for three months, listening to the recording every single day, it became my talisman piece, the one I could envisage singing when life returned to ‘normal’.
“The college has been brilliant and really indulged me! Now the concert is actually happening, I am a little nervous but it is deeply important to me that I get it right.
“My hope is that it is a fabulously upbeat evening of choral music and everyone will come away with their hearts beating a little bit faster.”
Bells has secured sponsorship to cover the cost of the evening and refreshments – meaning all proceeds will go to the charity.
The first half of the concert is Vivaldi’s Gloria sung by Ellesmere College Choral Society. The second half will feature with Handle with professional soloists, former Ellesmere College Students, singers from Shrewsbury Cantata Choir and orchestral accompaniment from Ellesmere Camerata.
Bells’ mother Claire Griffith was a former Custos of the College and the concert will also be an opportunity to pay tribute to her service, following her death from cancer in 2020.
It will be a family affair as Bells’ sons will also be helping on the night – her 19-year-old son Kit, who was at the college from the age of five until he went to Exeter University, will be back at Ellesmere for the evening alongside Jonty, who is in his final year at Ellesmere.
“My boys have been astonishingly brilliant, such a support throughout everything,” Bells added.
“I am really looking forward to it. There is no time for worry or stress when performing and so, for me, choral singing is absolutely the best cancer therapy.”
Tony Coupe, Director of Music at Ellesmere College, has also been organising the concert.
He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to show once again the public benefit that music at Ellesmere brings.
“Bells is amazing and enabling her to reach her beat cancer goal is an absolute joy. This will be a night to remember and an important chance to raise funds for the valuable work of Cancer Research UK.”
Anyone interested in performing at the black tie Gala concert in the Big School on March 16 is invited to attend a ‘Come and Sing Day’ beforehand which will take place on February 24.
Tickets for the Come and Sing Day are £10 each with all proceeds also going to Cancer Research UK. People attending are encouraged to take their own score along.
Tickets for the Gala event are £20 and you can register your interest by emailing email@example.com.
Through the sustained efforts of the Music Department and the community of Ellesmere College, the school has already raised money for Race Against Dementia, Shropshire Mental Health Support and Age UK this year.
For more information about music at Ellesmere College visit https://www.ellesmere.com/the-schools/all/clubs-and-societies/the-arts/music/.