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Guest blog: Sara Hunter from Sing For A Change!

Guest blog: Sara Hunter from Sing For A Change!

30th October 2018

In this guest blog, Sara Hunter, Director at Sing For A Change! tells us about her passion for music, and how it gives a voice to a marginalised group who otherwise wouldn’t have their voices heard.


I run a social justice choir called Sing for a Change! We are a community choir based in Hackney who want to not only sing about change but who work together to make change happen. We sing about freedom, love, hope and peace and about the issues that matter to us and our community. Then we get involved in social action through community organising with Hackney Citizens (our local branch of Citizens UK).

Sing For a Change! and Music In Detention

As Refugee Week was approaching earlier this year, I was looking for a way the choir could join in. When I looked up the Refugee Week website I found the page about ‘20 Simple Acts’, one of which was the ‘Sing a Song’ campaign run by Music In Detention.

Sally, one of Music In Detention’s volunteers suggested that our choir performed ‘Song of Freedom’ as we didn’t have loads of time to learn something new. It was perfect, so I quickly whipped up a choir arrangement and taught it to my choir on the Wednesday of Refugee Week. It sounded great so we filmed ourselves singing it and then I shared it on social media and it was shared quite widely. It was great to be able to help raise awareness of something so important.  You can see the video here

We were then invited to contribute a recording of our version of ‘Song of Freedom’ for an album for the Music In Detention website. We were really thrilled to be asked and managed to organise the amazing Max Bandicoot, a local musician and producer, to come and help us record the song in St John’s Church which has such wonderful acoustics. It’s really exciting to be featured in this way as a choir. The recordings are all available in the album ‘Freedom to Sing’ here.

More songs of freedom and change

Since Refugee Week, we have sung the song again at the St John’s Summer Fair and at Sing for Peace, an event to mark International Day of Peace where we mashed it up with a song we wrote as a choir called “It Starts With Us”.

Before the project, I didn’t know much about immigration detention although as a choir we have sung about refugees as part of the Hackney Citizens Mayoral Accountability Assembly and also raised money for the North Hackney Welcome Project (a group resettling a refugee family in Hackney under the community sponsorship scheme). 

It was wonderful to hear about an organisation using the power of music to make a difference, just like we want to do. Music is a wonderful way to bring people together in common purpose, even people from very different backgrounds. Singing together about something that everyone believes in is really powerful, especially if it will then lead to bringing about change for the better and if it also gives a voice to a marginalised group who otherwise wouldn’t have their voice heard or be able to tell their stories.

We loved being part of this project!

Thank you to Sara and to Sing For A Change! for their hard work and their powerful music. If you’re part of a choir and would like to sing or fundraise for Music In Detention, please get in touch with Lizzy Jewell on lizzy@musicindetention.org.uk