Rising Voices Wessex is a community choir set up to help individuals recover after treatment for cancer or to help those affected by the experience of cancer in the family. It was launched in January 2013 with an appearance on BBC South Today and in a partnership with the Lighthouse Arts Centre in Poole.

The Poole choir currently has over 60 members meeting weekly for rehearsals and who take part in performances throughout the year – these performances help raise funds to support the choir. Taking part in performances is something that most members enjoy but isn’t compulsory! The emphasis is on having fun, with choirs members having their say on which songs they would like to sing so the repertoire is varied.

A grant from the former Dorset Cancer Network in 2012 supported the launch of the choir .The choirs has since received funding from Macmillan Cancer Support and, in 2014, won a Lottery bid supporting its ability to offer the benefits of singing for fun whilst living with cancer or recovering from the experience of having been affected by cancer.

Their conductor Ali Sharpe has been leading choirs and vocal workshops since the early 80s. She has worked as a class music teacher and for a few years ran a music department in a local school. She is regularly requested to run voice workshops for teachers and pupils in a variety of schools all over the country, plus utilising her skills in the corporate workplace to provide “de-stressing” and fun singing workshops in which colleagues can re-energise, socialise and find their voices through singing and laughter.

Ali set up and ran the Bournemouth Community Gospel Choir for over 10 years and in that time organised concerts and tours which took them to both Prague and Tuscany where they received rapturous applause for energetic and inspiring performances. She has worked in theatre schools and is a regular workshop facilitator for the festival circuit in Dorset including: The Larmer Tree Festival; The Boscombe Arts Festival; The Purbeck Folk Festival; The Wimborne Folk Festival; The Bournemouth Healing Weekend; Bournemouth Arts By-the-Sea Festival.