Archway’s Mixed Up Chorus sings with Sri Lanka’s Muslim Choral Ensemble

Muslim Choral Ensemble of Sri Lanka

Muslim Choral Ensemble of Sri Lanka - Credit: Archant

This ecclectic mix of Londoners of all ages perform in the belief that to sing together is to live better together

The Mixed Up Chorus

The Mixed Up Chorus - Credit: Archant

As its name suggests, The Mixed up Chorus is an ecclectic mix of Londoners, aged from 20 to 80, who in the words of creative producer Holly Jones perform "in the belief that to sing together is to live better together".

"Our concerts are a way of encouraging others to join us, to sing for better harmony in life and community," she adds."

Jones and musical director Jeremy Haneman started the 60-strong choir six years ago as part of an arts programme for an interfaith charity.

"It had its roots in the idea that bringing people together across difference - to meet people they might not meet otherwise through music and singing together, was a way of building bridges."

The Mixed Up Chorus

The Mixed Up Chorus - Credit: Archant

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When funding ran out, the choir became independent, and is now in the third year of a major project Singing Our Lives which has been backed by the Arts Council and won £50,000 from the National Lottery Awards For All last month.

The partnership with the International Organization for Migration, the Royal Opera House and the Guildhall to create and perform new music that reflects the exeriences of migrants and refugees, is working towards a collaboratively created opera by 2020. The non-auditioned community choir, which meets on Tuesdays at Archway's Hargrave Hall, has been working alongside refugee and asylum seeker choirs including the Islington Refugee Choir.

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Jones says: "We started the project because we are interested in the area of migration and immigration, the experience for some people who have arrived here, and the negative dialogue around it. We wanted to extend a hand of welcome to people, and find ways of reaching out to them. They are contributing to writing music and lyrics to create songs that are owned by everyone who has been part of them."

The Chorus' migration-themed summer concert on Tuesday sees them sing alongside the Muslim Choral Ensemble of Sri Lanka under Artistic Director André de Quadros - one of the world's most awarded choral directors, who leads choirs from conflict torn areas. The Chorus' contribution ranges from Arabic and Aboriginal songs to A Million Dreams from Greatest Showman.

"There's a lot of evidence to show that there are huge physical benefits from singing with other people, your hearts start to beat at the same pace," says Jones.

"It creates this really powerful bond, being part of this choir that's bigger than the sum of its parts. Seeing people from different levels, ages and social backgrounds and policitcal beliefs involved in this creative endeavour in a supportive environment is something very special. A choir becomes a community."

The Mixed Up Chorus perform at Hargrave Hall in Hargrave Road on July 16 at 8pm. Tickets from Eventbrite.

The Mixed Up Chorus meets on Tuesdays in term time at Hargrave Hall, Hargrave Rd, London N19 5SP, 7 - 9pm.

Booking via eventbrite with a suggested donation £5 on the door.

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