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“Leave no one behind” on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day

Children and young people with Down Syndrome release Fascinating music video

Today sees the release of a musical video with children and young people who have Down Syndrome performing an arrangement of the award-winning song “This is Me” alongside one of the UK’s leading ladies’ barbershop choruses. This musical collaboration brings together families supported by the Down Syndrome charity, Ups and Downs Southwest, and members of the 60-strong, South Gloucestershire based chorus, Fascinating Rhythm.

Released on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (WDSD) , the video contributes to the WDSD 2019 “leave no one behind” campaign raising awareness that people with Down Syndrome should have equal opportunities to live fulfilling lives in all aspects of society.   “This is me”, from the film the Greatest Showman, is a defiant song of self-empowerment sung by the people with unique qualities employed as so-called “human oddities” for the Barnum Circus.

The idea for the video came from Jo Thorn, Director of Ups and Downs Southwest and Musical Director of Fascinating Rhythm, “This year at Ups and Downs, we agreed to create something for World Down Syndrome Awareness Day relevant to its campaign but with the potential for global reach too. We wanted to feature our young people sending out a very pertinent message through a song which says, although I may be different, I still make a difference and a worthwhile contribution to society. We asked my chorus Fascinating Rhythm to support us to help provide an inclusive platform for our children and young people to explore their creative side through signing as well as song.”

The video was recorded after weeks of preparation. Members of Fascinating Rhythm and the young people with Down Syndrome had to learn the song with Makaton signs to communicate key words.

Fascinating Rhythm chorus member Wendy Daniell said, “It has been a huge privilege for us being invited to participate in this project. I personally have learned so much more about Down Syndrome and it was a surprise to me to discover Makaton being used as a language to support speech development. And we had such fun working with the Ups and Downs families on the day our performance was being filmed.”

Marie, mother of 12 year-old Poppy who has Down Syndrome said “It was such a joy for me to see Poppy involved in this project. It gave her the opportunity to get involved in new and enriching experiences, but in a nurturing environment too with the lovely ladies of Fascinating Rhythm being so understanding and supportive. She was enthralled by the equipment used by the professional film production team and also thrilled at performing with such an amazing chorus.”

The project has been generously supported with grants from Sedgemoor District Council and Bridgwater Town Council, and in-kind contributions from music recording company “nooj Productions” and venue hire from Sydenham Barn.

The video can be seen on Twitter at #leavenoonebehind and #UDThisisme

Fascinating Rhythm signing “Here I come” with Makaton in the song “This is Me”


Here are a few more photographs showing what a great day we had filming:


Workshop 2019 – Greatest Showman success!

We were so pleased that the snow did not stop play for our learn to sing workshop held on 2nd February. Fortunately the snow stopped falling in time for us to go ahead so the delegates did not miss out on their singing fix.

We welcomed around 70 ladies of all ages (including a Mum and Daughter set which with our FR member (the grandmother) made a 3 generation appearance again)


The delegates worked so hard this year as  it was quite a mammoth song – it was the very famous “This is Me” (from The Greatest Showman) so it was even more of a challenge for those ladies who were given a harmony part and not the lead line (the bit we all know)


The speed at which the song was learnt was amazing…. we even had a run through before lunch! Much cake was consumed, and we again offered merchandise to buy along with the chance of winning a raffle prize.

We were delighted that we now seem to have several ‘regulars’ who come to the workshop each year, and we look forward to welcoming everyone again in 2020!



Here are a few snaps from the day:







The Chorus have again received some great feedback from our guests and we’d like to share some of it with you here:

“The day whizzed by – such fun with lovely people. I’d love to come again”

“An excuse to let go – great to enjoy time with great ladies”

“A great day doing something for myself and being part of something big!”

“Just a nice experience to be with others who enjoy singing and the opportunity of being part of a choir for just a day”

“Find that although it takes me out of my ‘comfort zone’ I have a sense of achievement by the end of the day. It’s just lovely to sing and meet such a fab group of ladies!”

We thank you ladies for coming to share the day with us, it was lovely to welcome you to Fascinating Rhythm and we hope to see you again.

The full chorus of the day!






Convention 2018

Many apologies for the lack of our reporting on the LABBS Convention 2018…. time has flown by since our return so here is a snap shot of the weekend back in October.

The majority of members travelled to Harrogate by coach early on Friday morning and we enjoyed supporting the quartet competition on arrival, with special mention to go to ‘Avalon’ who performed so well in the semi-finals and made it through to the finals. Karen, who sings baritone with Fascinating Rhythm also sings baritone in Avalon so we were particularly keen to support them.

We had been drawn to sing first in the competition on Saturday, which meant a very early start for us to get warmed up and prepared for our 11am performance on stage. This did mean that a lot of us had retired early to bed even before the quartet competition results had been announced! Many watched the live stream from our beds…. but it was worth it to hear that Avalon won GOLD, we were so proud and excited for them – Congratulations Avalon!

Saturday came and went in a flash…. those 6 minutes on stage go so fast, but we were delighted that so many were able to support us in the audience. Again we brought 2 new bespoke arrangements to stage, thank you to Dr Liz Garnett for another amazing job with 2 songs that we all loved performing. We left the stage with a great feeling and so many lovely comments from the public who had seen us. We are so pleased to still be ranked 5th in the country – it really is testament to our hard work to stay there amongst the other best choruses in the land.

Then we move on to our afterglow party (what happens at convention, stays at convention!)…. suffice to say we had some hilarious party pieces and always witness hidden talent amongst our members.

Here are a few pictures from our time on stage…. we really did have a blast!

Successful evening for Dementia Connections

We were delighted that on Saturday 10th November we performed for “Dementia Connections”, our charity of the year. They organised a concert with refreshments and a raffle while the audience enjoyed 2 halves of FR singing all of our favourites.

Well over £1,000 was raised for this local charity who provide memory groups and carer support.

Chris Sweet commented “What a fabulous evening we had last Saturday. Our group members, volunteers and friends in the audience enjoyed Fascinating Rhythm singing their hearts out for us”.

We are thrilled that the evening was a success and we will be able to let you know what other funds are raised by FR for the group in the new year.

WOW Rehearsal

We were absolutely delighted to have a full house at our dress rehearsal on 14th October.

The audience were full of enthusiasm for our Convention Package which we performed twice and sang a few of our repertoire songs for their entertainment.

We had great feedback and now we cant wait to get on stage in Harrogate!

We wish all other competitors the best of luck and of course will let you know how we get on.