The Choir with No Name Brighton (CWNN Brighton) have finally been able to meet up again in person after more than a year of online rehearsals due to Covid restrictions. This choir for people who have experienced homelessness and housing marginalisation is run in partnership between the national Choir with No Name charity and BHT Sussex. It is a vital support network for some of the most isolated people in the city.
When the pandemic struck and CWNN Brighton were no longer able to meet to sing and eat together each week, they quickly set up a ‘virtual choir’ where members could continue to sing together online. However, when restrictions began to ease, they were keen to find a safe space where they could meet in person again, and the Open Market on Marshalls Row were able to provide it. Thirty members are now meeting each week to sing together, with appropriate distancing and mask-wearing measures in place.
Choir Manager Alex Procter said:
We are all so happy to see each other face-to-face after so long rehearsing online! Throughout lockdown the choir has innovated to stay together – using zoom, meeting up in musical bubbles of six, rehearsing in parks – but being back together in a safe, open space after so long feels fantastic.
Choir member Ess said:
I feel so happy to have our ‘family’ meeting up again. The choir helps spread joy and even with the technical difficulties of singing with masks on and being socially distanced, hearing the voices of my peers really lifts my spirits.
CWNN Brighton are now working towards producing a fundraising video of a version of ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol, to mark the last year of maintaining their community against all odds, and to celebrate their return to in-person rehearsals. The song was chosen by members, who felt the lyrics reflected their experience of being in lockdown and not knowing when they would be able to see one another again. They are also working towards their first post-lockdown gig at Bike It Brighton, the annual flagship fundraising event of BHT Sussex, which is on 11 July in Preston Park.
The current Covid guidelines mean that the choir’s in-person rehearsals are limited to 30 people, so they are not able to accept new members at present. However, when restrictions lift, they will be moving from their temporary home at the Open Market to the larger indoor space of a local church, and at that point will be open to new members again. To find out more, please contact Choir Manager Alex Procter on [email protected].