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Harmonious lunch-breaks launched

22 Oct 2008

University of Manchester staff and students are being given the chance to re-charge their batteries over lunch with a series of free lunchtime concerts starting with a show by the acclaimed vocalists “Northern Harmony.”

Northern Harmony
Northern Harmony

From Vermont in the USA, the sixteen-strong vocal ensemble is visiting Manchester as part of an extended tour of the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland.

The show at the University’s Martin Harris Centre on Oxford Road on 23 October is the latest in a series of measures to promote the well-being of staff.

Measures include stress management training, a programme of sport and exercise initiatives and the introduction of policy on work/life balance including a range of family friendly policies and counseling. Recently the University has launched an online self-help programme.

The free Thursday lunchtime concerts are open to the public and everybody who attends the Northern Harmony show will receive a gift to support their wellbeing.

This season's programme includes something for all tastes, including chamber music, cappella vocals and percussion.

It is funded by the Ida Carroll Trust which  promotes the education of the public in the study, practice, knowledge and appreciation of music.

Deputy Director of Human Resources Andrew Mullen said: “This is an excellent initiative and a great way of reminding us of the tremendous range of advantages that working at the University can offer

“This concert and other initiatives ensure that we fulfil our moral and statutory obligations to protect staff from stress and contribute positively to their well-being.

“How many people in other organisations could say that they could attend an event such as this during their lunchtime and free of charge?"

Northern Harmony sing beautiful harmonies they have learnt in their travels  throughout the world

The music includes South African songs and dances, folk and sacred music from Georgia, Bulgaria and Corsica, and a variety of American traditions.

They were booked by World Music expert Dr Caroline Bithell who is based in the University’s School of Arts, Histories and Cultures.

She said: “Northern harmony produce the most beautiful music which they have learned from local singers around the world.

“The music will relieve you of your responsibilities for a while and leave you feeling refreshed.

“It really will transport you to another place – far away from voicemails, emails and the sometimes stressful office environment.”

Notes for editors

The concert will take place at the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama on 23 October at 1.10PM. Admission is free.

Visit the Northern Harmony website at www.

For media enquiries contact:

Mike Addelman
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790
07717 881567