Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Electric Umbrella was stopped in its tracks 3 weeks ago when due to Covid-19 the charity were forced to suspend all our face to face sessions, gigs, schools visits, day service tours and festivals until further notice.
In just the space of a few days Electric Umbrella pulled the team together and created an online programme of interactive opportunities enabling some of the most isolated members of the community to come together for regular meaningful connection, friendship and music.
“Our charitable purpose is to combat social isolation but we could have never anticipated the need to respond to anything on this scale. Our newly created ‘EUTV’ channel is providing over 20 hours of programming a week for our community of adults with learning disabilities and their families who need to see familiar faces and maintain routine and connection through this difficult time.” Mel Boda, CEO.
Already EUTV’s midday spotlight session is attracting some great guests including Dan Gillespe Sells lead singer of THE FEELING and musical composer behind EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE and the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and Major of Watford dropping in to read A TALL TALE.
Tom Billington, Artistic Director said, “We have been overwhelmed by families who have been in touch to say that EUTV has been a life-line. It’s crazy that we’ve reached beyond 24,000 people online with our delivery in the first 7 days and we’ve only just begun.”
The charity has been approached by adult care services across the country asking how they can engage their residents with the online programme.
“Together we can really make a difference, not only our members but also the wider learning disabled community supporting families nationally and potentially worldwide.” Mel Boda, CEO.
Electric Umbrella were set to release their latest single TRY SMILING on 1st May in collaboration with the team at Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden. The team had been working with Electric Umbrella members to film a music video focused around the encounters of Electric Umbrella’s Little Yellow Street pianos that are due to be popping up across Hertfordshire this summer.
Despite this disruption to plans and with your support, the music video will still go ahead! Electric Umbrella and Warner Bros Studio will be collecting and editing together all the performances to create the most joyous of videos to show the world!
Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden says, “We are delighted to be able to provide support to Electric Umbrella and the launch of its fantastic Try Smiling campaign. Electric Umbrella provides fantastic services and the upcoming music video challenge perfectly champions the charities values of inclusivity and positivity.’’
Film yourself performing TRY SMILING and send Electric Umbrella your video - full details at www.electricumbrella.co.uk/video-challenge Entries must be received by 17th April.
Try Smiling features vocals from over 200 people with learning disabilities from Electric Umbrella, Find Your Voice Choir in Australia (known for their success on Australia’s Got Talent) and students from Billy and Andy’s Music School in Manchester. Vocals also feature Iain Hornal (10CC, ELO, Yes), with Jo Webb (ELO, Rick Parfitt, Marc Almond) on guitar and production, Dave Marks (Hanz Zimmer, Robert Plant, Mel C) on Bass, Tom Billington and Sinead Quinn (Billington and Quinn) on Backing vocals and Tim Oliver (Thunder, Tony Hadley, Neneh Cherry) on Keys.
TRY SMILING was written by Peter Hajioff, Tom Billington, Sinead Quinn and the members of the Electric Umbrella WATFORD group.