A song celebrating Kirklees in winter written by Trust service users and staff will be brought to life by a professional band after it hit the right note in a songwriting competition.
‘In Wintertime in Kirklees’ by Enfield Down, a mental health inpatient unit in Honley, was chosen as a winner of the Kirklees Year of Music 2023 Songs For The Season: Winter Songbook Songwriting Competition.
As winners, their song will be arranged for and performed by a professional band and community choir at Dewsbury Town Hall on 12 December and included in a published compendium, which will be distributed to schools and colleges across Kirklees.
Some of the service users and staff have even volunteered to sing their song as part of the community choir for the performance, and will be attending rehearsals leading up to the performance to prepare for the big night.
Already keen composers, Enfield Down were no strangers to songwriting, having regularly created their own songs in their weekly creativity group run by creative practitioner Jessica Kelly. When news of the competition reached the group, they were enthusiastic about entering.
Jessica explained: “We started off by brainstorming words and phrases that made us think of Kirklees in the wintertime. We then arranged these into lyrics for the song. We spent three one-hour sessions writing and practising the song.
“In the first session, we wrote the first verse and chorus. In the second session, we wrote the second verse, which was then put to music by arranging some chords on the piano, and coming up with a melody to sing the lyrics to. Service users from the group also added some percussion.
“On the third session, we rehearsed the song, and recorded it so that it could be sent off to the organisers of the competition for judging. Some of the service users and staff even sang and played along on percussion for the recording of the song.”
Jessica explained the inspiration for the song: “Many of the people staying at Enfield Down have lived in Kirklees and surrounding areas. The song highlights certain places surrounding the Kirklees area that people have enjoyed spending time in and also have memories attached to the area.
“It is a celebration of the county itself and the community that belongs to Kirklees, and the song highlights the beauty that can be found within the area and the festivities and joy that can be observed in the winter season in Kirklees.”
As winners of the competition, service users and staff were treated to a visit from star singer Rachel Modest, who found fame on popular TV singing competition series The Voice. Rachel visited Enfield Down to support with arranging the unit’s original song and also gave a powerful performance of her own.
Jessica is one of 28 creative practitioners on our wards, who work with teams and services to deliver creative approaches to complement existing activities and therapies. The practitioners were recruited through Creative Minds, our linked charity, which co-funds and co-delivers projects for local people using physical and mental health services to build confidence, learn new skills and develop their talents.