The Choir with No Name Brighton has launched a ‘virtual choir’ online, as part of efforts to make sure its members can stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. This choir for people who have experienced homelessness and marginalisation is run in partnership between the national Choir with No Name charity and BHT. It is a vital support network for some of the most isolated members of the community.
The Choir with No Name Brighton used to meet to sing every Monday at One Church in the city centre, with each rehearsal followed by a hot meal, cooked by a team of volunteers. As this cannot happen in the current climate, the team behind the choir have sought other ways of maintaining connection, which include the creation of this virtual choir where members can continue to sing together in a safe, non-judgmental space.
Choir Manager Alex Procter said:
Since the virus struck, we’ve been doing everything we can to keep our community together. We’ve started a virtual choir using Zoom led by our amazing Director Freya, and various online social spaces. Our zoom sessions have been riotous, joyful affairs – seeing everyone’s faces light up on the screen it’s very clear just how much this means to people in the interim while we can’t be physically together.
We call our members weekly, and send out a paper newsletter – essential for those who are not online. We’re also currently working with local community networks to get technology to all our members who are not able to get online, to try and reduce digital exclusion and isolation even more.
Choir member Dee described the new online rehearsals as “a fab mix of unmuted anarchy and serious song learning in harmony” and said that the choir team had made the transition online “with energy, commitment and love as usual.”
The virtual choir is proving popular with members, as is a new private Facebook group that allows them to stay in touch and support each other. For more vulnerable members, the weekly ‘check-in’ phone calls that have been set up offer a crucial opportunity for some one-to-one support, as well as the sharing of the latest updates on how to keep safe and information about what other local support is available.
If you would like to find out more about the Choir with No Name Brighton, please email Choir Manager Alex at [email protected]