ORCHESTRA members tuning up for an annual winter concert have been sharing their talents with the homeless to ensure all community members have their own voice.

Musicians with the Darlington Orchestra have recently been working with two charities, hosting a series of bespoke writing workshops with various groups who otherwise may not have the opportunity to explore their creativity.

Darlington musician, Hayley Jenkins, is working as a composer in residence this year with to The Streetwise Opera – a performing arts charity for people who are or have been homeless.

As part of the workshops, she has been helping two groups start and opera chorus, using their own ideas and words to come up with a theme.

Ms Jenkins said: "It has been challenging, but the people involved absolutely love the freedom of singing, performing and expressing themselves.

"It is easy to have assumptions about people who are homeless, but they should have a voice just like anyone else.”

The participants can also take up work placements as part of the programme, with access to expert social workers and the opportunity to see opera and live music performances.

As part of the project, the Darlington Orchestra has announced that its winter concert on January 26, 2019, will include an allocation of free tickets for members of the Streetwise Opera.

The popular annual concert will feature music from across the centuries by a range of composers, including Haydn, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Mancini.

The Cockerton Prize Silver Band will be the special guests are the upcoming performance.

Darlington Orchestra conductor, David Plews ,said: "We are delighted to be able to offer some complimentary tickets for our winter concert to the singers at Streetwise Opera.

"We aim to offer access to a relaxing and enjoyable concert at a time when relaxing and enjoyable cultural experiences may be in short supply."

He added: "As musicians, we all know how at difficult times in life music can become even more important. Darlington Orchestra is proud to offer a bursary scheme for players who may find the orchestra membership fees a barrier to their involvement.

"If you're a talented player who needs some financial help to cover orchestra membership fees, please email us on admin@darlington-orchestra.org.uk”

For more information or for tickets, call 01325-40600.