“One of the worst things about torture is that it silences you… the choir has given me back my voice”.
The Sing for Freedom choir sings from a shared love of music and to reclaim the voice that torture has so cruelly tried to silence. This amazing and unique choir was founded by Freedom from Torture, a charity offering therapeutic care to asylum seekers and refugees in the UK who have suffered torture.
SADLY THE CHARITY CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO RUN THE CHOIR AND SINCE JULY 2018 REHEARSALS HAVE CEASED. PLEASE PLEDGE TO HELP US SAVE THE CHOIR.
Members are clients, staff and supporters of Freedom From Torture and local residents. From 2016-18 they met every week to share a love of singing, make friends, and sing for freedom. Wonderful links have formed across ages, nationalities, languages, and faiths and they have delighted audiences at numerous special performances . For many members, it has been a way to forget the terrible things they have endured and feel joy instead.
What we'll deliver:
- The choir will meet and rehearse again weekly, giving much needed therapy and happiness to the members
- The choir will learn new songs, developing their musical skills and building their repertoire from around the world
- Choir members will improve their language & intercultural skills and build friendships across difference
- The choir will reach out to the local community, invite them to join and to attend performances
- The choir will perform at Refugee Week 2019, inspiring others with their model of solidarity and support
Why it's a great idea:
There are very significant therapeutic benefits to being in a choir - research has consistently shown that singing together with others:
creates powerful social bonds
promotes feelings of wellbeing
improves language skills
provides an antidote to isolation
Many members of the choir have been through horrendous experiences that few can imagine. They carry a huge burden of trauma and stress but the choir has been a healing lifeline, providing support and kinship.
One member from the Democratic Republic of the Congo describes how it has helped: "Its like my therapy. I'm happy to sing every time. When I wake up I sometimes feel lonely and sad, but on Wednesday I come in and see the choir and after that I'm happy, the stress is gone, all is better. So I can say that the choir is very important to my life".
The choir has built community and understanding between people who would not otherwise meet.
Steps to get it done:
- Choir members re-engaged and first term of rehearsals scheduled
- Choir steering committee formed
- New repertoire decided and mastered
- First public performance at Refugee Week in July 2019
The Sing For Freedom choir deserves to be a permanent part of our community. It will enable all of us to better understand and engage with refugees and bring empathy and compassion to the plight of people who have been tortured.
Most of the choir members are living in dire poverty and the choir can help them interact with others and gain vital life skills.
Funding will enable the choir to meet regularly, attract new members, AND to achieve their ambition to perform as part of Refugee Week 2019. One member describes how it felt after their concert last year at the Barbican's Milton Court: “I’ve got it on my phone, I check it every night before I sleep. The end, the finish, it was amazing. We kept singing, even outside, it was amazing. That showed me how singing can bring people together and they will share one moment. The happiness. That time was really powerful for me. And when I watch my own video I keep smiling. I’m just happy!"