Debby Couzens, Tonic Ska Choir member and volunteer, goes under the spotlight.
The Tonic Ska Choir’s first ever performance, held at The Wedgewood Rooms
Debby has been a Tonic Ska Choir member since its inception. She has frequently volunteered for Tonic and is an essential part of our fundraising team.
Debby was instrumental in arranging our first ever Tonic Ska Choir gig, held at The Wedgewood Rooms on Friday the 14th of June, 2019.
Debby’s Tonic story:
I met Steph in 2018 at Specialized in Reading. She introduced me to Tonic Music for Mental Health and I immediately felt welcome. I loved her passion and desire to make a difference in people's lives – mental health issues are often such a taboo.
At this time I was going through huge health issues, having one operation after another. I was suffering from ongoing mental health difficulties as my last operation had nearly cost me my life, leading to PTSD, which I got counselling for.
When Steph said that Tonic was starting the Tonic Ska Choir, I immediately signed up. It was right up my street – I had been on the Scooter Scene since I was 15 years old.
I had never sung in a choir before, so it was both new and nerve-wracking, but I was fortunate to already know our talented choir leader Leonie, so our first get together was very fun.
Over the coming weeks we became more than just a choir, we became a family. It was about more than just singing – we were looking after each other as well.
I had previously been involved on the music scene in Portsmouth, having managed a few bands and been a music promoter for Portsmouth Guildhall. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
So a few weeks after the choir started I contacted the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea, got in touch with a few bands, and we had our first ever performance as a choir...
It was a memorable night. We were all so nervous. A huge audience greeted us on stage, and then screamed for an encore when we finished. They were so supportive. Everyone was buzzing when we left the stage, and we couldn't wait to perform again.
Since then we have gone on to perform in front of the NHS, at festivals, at Specialized, and now we’ve recorded our first EP. If someone asked me what it means to be part of the Tonic Ska Choir, I would say it is the best Tonic ever, and that being in a room with my Ska Choir family is the most uplifting feeling I could hope for. It’s great to be involved with such a brilliant charity, and I can’t thank everyone enough.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved with fundraising for Tonic. I have met so many amazing people along the way, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.