On Sat 12 December 2020, Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and national music education charity Soundabout will launch a new virtual inclusive choir for children and young people of all abilities across the West Midlands. The virtual choir will focus on ensuring young people with severe and profound learning disabilities are able to share their voice.
The aim of the West Midlands-based Inclusive Choir is to create a musical community without barriers. The choir is open to all young people of all abilities, up to the age of 25 years. From January onwards, the choir will meet and sing together every 2 weeks via Zoom (online video conferencing platform).
Holly Radford, Producer of MAC Makes Music, said: "We are delighted to be collaborating with Soundabout to create a new Inclusive Choir in the West Midlands.
"MAC Makes Music is a Youth Music-funded programme that aims to influence musical inclusion, placing creativity and young people at the heart of everything we do. We work across the region to offer innovative musical opportunities to those who might struggle to access them.
“We hope that the new West Midlands Inclusive Choir is the start of a new adventure that eventually sees many inclusive choirs popping up all across the region.”
Soundabout, a charity that uses music to unlock the potential of people with complex needs, runs a network of inclusive choirs in Bristol, Oxford, Peterborough and Wiltshire. This year, the choirs have featured on the BBC News at Ten, BBC Songs of Praise, and released a new version of Amazing Grace with The King’s Singers which went viral after premiering on Classic FM’s Facebook page.
Clare Cook, CEO of Soundabout, said: “At Soundabout, we believe that everybody deserves to have a voice. Rather than focusing on what people can’t do, we want to emphasise what they can do. We believe that people with severe and profound learning disabilities, including autism, should have a life full of expression, passion and enjoyment.
“Our experience in Bristol, Oxford Peterborough and Wiltshire has shown us what the powerful impact that an inclusive choir welcoming musicians of all abilities has on all involved and we are delighted to be collaborating with the MAC on this fantastic new venture.
"Creating a musical community without barriers for children and young people with disabilities builds confidence in their own musicality and ability to form relationships.
“Our team is aspirational in our approach and we are always looking to create exciting opportunities for leadership and performance within the choir."