Tunbridge Wells singer Emily, 26, joins The Cystic Fibrosis Virtual Choir

Tunbridge Wells singer Emily, 26, joins The Cystic Fibrosis Virtual Choir

A SINGER from Tunbridge Wells who suffers from cystic fibrosis has joined a ‘virtual choir’ to record an album launched just before Christmas. 

Emily Woodham, 26, has never met her fellow artists. The Cystic Fibrosis Virtual Choir cannot perform together because they risk passing life-threatening infections to each other, so each singer went into a recording studio separately.

Contributing the Wailin’ Jennys’ One Voice, it was one of 12 different choral groups who appear on the Choirs With Purpose album Stand Together, which was released on December 15.

Emily had already recorded a cover of Paul -McCartney’s ‘We All Stand Together’ with Pop Idol finalist Michelle McManus and Choirs with Purpose.

She said: “I started singing properly when I was 14, and it really lifts my mood and cheers me up. 

“I also believe it is good for my lungs as it opens them up. It is a type of deep-breathing exercise which I feel helps to strengthen my lungs.”

She explained that cystic fibrosis ‘requires me to undertake rigorous physiotherapy and medication. Each day, I spend around 30 minutes doing breathing exercises, and take between 30 and 40 tablets as well as using nebulisers and inhalers. 

“But having cystic fibrosis has never stopped me from trying to realise my dreams. I feel really lucky to have been part of this wonderful project. It was a great experience.” 

The inherited disease causes cross-infection, which can be fatal because bacteria which are harmless to healthy people are highly dangerous to those with the condition, settling in the lungs, and are transmitted from one sufferer to another. 

Emily said: “One of the hardest things about living with cystic fibrosis is the isolation; you can never physically meet the only people who really understand what it’s like.” 

Each singer had a two-hour slot into the studio, and after each recording the room was deep-cleaned and aired before the next set began.

Fellow singer Bianca Nicolas said: “Whereas all the other choirs were able to stand together and sing, we could not do that, which is ironic when you consider the names of the new album and the [first] single.

“It sounds like a lot to do, but it was really worth it. We are all so proud to be able to have worked on these songs. It is for such a great cause and we really hope people enjoy them throughout.”

Producer James Hawkins then matched each solo performance and mixed them together. 

James said: “We hope that this new choir will help people to understand a little of what it is like to live with cystic fibrosis, and encourage the public to support the charity.”

Oli Lewington, Director of Engagement for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “The choir will never be able to meet face-to-face because of the risk of passing deadly bugs to one another, but thanks to the incredible dedication of Choirs with Purpose, people with cystic fibrosis have been able to come together and sing as one.” 

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