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Blog: Brighton Street Choirs Festival 2018

Blog: Brighton Street Choirs Festival 2018

31st July 2018

By Sally Jaquet

On June 30th, a gorgeously sunny day, 30 choirs from all over England descended on Brighton for the Annual Street Choirs Festival. Music in Detention joined as the festival’s charity partner, and as a result of their Refugee Week “sing a song” project, 900 choir participants would sing Human - a song written in a detention centre.

Massed Sing Rehearsal - Brighton Dome

Massed Sing Rehearsal - Brighton Dome

Arriving in the morning and walking into Brighton’s dome, we were greeted by warm harmonies of hundreds of people practising the refrain - “if you take away the heart, what’s left of a human?” There was something very special and emotional hearing Kirsty - the MD of Hullabaloo Choir’s - rendition for the first time live. After a successful rehearsal the almost thousand strong choir processed to Brighton Beach to perform the “Massed Sing” beside the sea and infront of the public. 

The audience gathered around the throng of singers wherever they could - on the promenade, the steps, even in the sea! Introduced by Brighton’s MP - Caroline Lucas, the performance began with “Citizens Shanty”, followed by the feminist “Nasty Girl”, and then a rendition of  Billy Bragg’s “Internationale”.  

Caroline Lucas Introducing the Massed Sing

Caroline Lucas Introducing the Massed Sing

Our volunteer, Sally, introduced “Human” - explaining the background to the song and it’s creation in the Verne IRC. She thanked the Street Choirs Festival and all it’s participants for their act of solidarity with Detainees, saying that their singing this song was expressing to their audience, and the wider UK, that no person is illegal and everyone should be made to feel human.

The sound of hundreds of people singing smoothly began and Marshall - a rapper and participant of the other charity partner, Audio Active - began to softly say “the heart’s more than a mechanism”. The volume grew and soon enough 900 people were singing human being, human dreaming, we believe in human feeling! The audience was captivated, as choir members sang with gusto in a wonderful setting.

There was something magical about so many people singing a song that was written by somebody who didn’t think they had a voice as they sat in a detention center, this was a true act of solidarity. 

Following on from the Massed Sing all the choirs went on to busk at various sites around Brighton for the afternoon. We raised £530 for MID throughout the day with the help of some wonderful volunteers. A massive thank you to Kirsty, Hullabaloo choir’s MD for creating the incredible arrangement and to Nic for looking after us on the day - we felt incredibly welcome and touched that we could be a part of the Street Choir’s Festival 2018! 

Please have a listen to the performance on the music player below, you can also have a listen to covers by other choirs here!

900 choir members!

900 choir members!

93 plays

Human - Street Choirs Festival 2018 ft. Marshall Mandiangu

Rap, hip-hop, gospel