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ICU choir sets its sights on UK chart’s Christmas number one spot

The ICU Liberty Singers' charity single will go up against Robbie Williams and Jess Glynne

The ICU Liberty Singers will take on Robbie Williams, Jess Glynne and Liam Gallagher with their charity single

A virtual choir made up of nurses, doctors and other intensive care professionals is hoping to claim the coveted Christmas number one spot and raise money for NHS staff with its first single.

The ICU Liberty Singers was born after choir director Kari Olsen-Porthouse approached the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine dean Alison Pittard with the idea of lifting the spirits of hard-pressed critical care staff.

Kari Olsen-Porthouse

A way to boost

The ICU Liberty Singers will take on Robbie Williams, Jess Glynne and Liam Gallagher with their charity single

The ICU Liberty Singers (pictured on Zoom) will take on Robbie Williams, Jess Glynne and Liam Gallagher with their charity single
The ICU Liberty Singers on Zoom

A virtual choir made up of nurses, doctors and other intensive care professionals is hoping to claim the coveted Christmas number one spot and raise money for NHS staff with its first single.

The ICU Liberty Singers was born after choir director Kari Olsen-Porthouse approached the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine dean Alison Pittard with the idea of lifting the spirits of hard-pressed critical care staff.

ICU Liberty Singers choir director Kari-Olsen Porthouse
Kari Olsen-Porthouse

A way to boost the morale of healthcare staff

‘I knew morale would be at rock bottom because staff didn’t get a break between the first and second wave of the pandemic,’ said Ms Olsen-Porthouse. ‘We all feel a bit better when we sing but when we sing together it is special.’

Within 48 hours the pair had signed up more than 100 ICU professionals who met for the first time on Zoom on November 25.

Singers recorded their parts individually on their mobile phones for the single – a version of the classic Police song Every Breath You Take with lyrics adapted to celebrate the contribution of ICU workers this year.

The choir – which has been granted permission by Sony to record the track – hopes to take on Robbie Williams, Jess Glynne and Liam Gallagher to reach number one in the Christmas charts.

Charity proceeds will set up a well-being fund for ICU workers

Joel Reyes, a senior staff nurse at the ICU at University College Hospital in London, said the experience had been ‘life-saving’ for him.

‘It reminded me of my long-lost passion for music and how it has helped me with my troubles every time I am down,’ he said.

British Association of Critical Care Nurses chair Nicki Credland was also one of the singers.

‘We have all needed to look for ways to improve our well-being and self-care. Singing in this choir has not only done that in spades, but also produced a fantastic song as a tribute to ICU staff all over the world,’ she said.

Money raised from the single – which will be released on 18 December – will be used to create a fund managed through the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine to support the mental well-being of ICU workers.


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