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Blog: Yarl's Wood song rings out in Surrey church

Blog: Yarl's Wood song rings out in Surrey church

27th July 2017

by Liza Figueroa-Clark, Programme Manager

On the evening of 21st July, I headed down to Horsell for a wonderful evening of music in the fabulous St. Mary’s church. One time MID artist, and Horsell Community Choir leader Anna Tabbush had organised for donations from the evening to go to MID, and invited me along to talk to the audience about our work.

It was a pleasant, cool summer evening, and this beautiful 12th Century church was the perfect setting for an evening of song. I set up Music In Detention’s stall, and met Geoffrey Hughes, Horsell Community Choir’s manager, Michael, the Church Warden, and Anna. We were also joined for the evening by MID trustee Joanna Ridout.

Gradually choir members and the audience began to arrive. The pews filled up, and a quiet anticipation filled the air. As the choir assembled in one of the church’s rooms to practice, we got a sneak preview of the fabulous sounds our ears would be treated to later that evening.

The Horsell Community Choir was supporting Apollo 5, a brilliant and charming vocal ensemble based in London, and one of the songs from Horsell’s repertoire was to be ‘Long Time Girl’, a Jamaican folk song, with a special arrangement by Anna. Anna had found a version on our music player, which was originally recorded by Bedford MID artist Jo Hudson-Lett at the end of a choir course she ran with women detained at Yarl’s Wood. A member of the Yarl's Wood choir had brought it to the group to perform. 

Anna conducting the Horsell Community Choir in their performance of Long Time Girl

Anna conducting the Horsell Community Choir in their performance of Long Time Girl

 In her introduction to the song, Anna told the audience about a songwriting project she delivered for MID at Yarl’s Wood a few years ago, pointing out that detention was a difficult place to be, and that music was a great way to lift the spirits. She dedicated the song to Music In Detention. The choir’s performance was wonderful and energetic, and the power and beauty of the human voice filled the church.

We filmed the performance so you can enjoy it too:

Long Time Girl

Then Apollo 5 gave a taster of what was to come from them after the interval, and it was my turn to say a few words about MID. During the interval, and after the show was over, we had a healthy buzz around our stall, we handed out free CDs of music recorded in and near detention centres, and the audience dropped their donations into our collection buckets, and I’m delighted to say that we raised over £200! Big thanks to Anna, the Horsell Community Choir, St Mary’s Church and the audience for making that happen.

If your choir is interested in doing a cover of one of the songs from our music player, please get in touch with us via info@musicindetention.org.uk, alternatively call the office on 020 7014 2811. You can read more about the idea by clicking here.