A short film about the choir on ITV news in 2023
Who We Are
Sheffield's refugee and asylum seeker choir
Led by musical director Emer Mckay, Sheffield One World Choir came out of an idea to develop a choir for asylum seekers and refugees to come together with other local people to sing. We started early in 2018 with just a handful of singers, and thankfully we grew into a vibrant and welcoming community choir. During lockdown we have been meeting virtually on Zoom, and we are now meeting in person again at the Israac Somali Community Association centre.
Everyone in choir finds it a fun and life enhancing experience. We all gain from the therapeutic experience of singing in harmony together, and being part of a warm, mutually supportive and respectful group. With people from many different countries, we want our songs to reflect that rich cultural diversity, and so we encourage choir members to compose and suggest songs for us to learn. So far, we have a repertoire that includes songs in Swahili, Shona, Xhosa, Ndebele, Arabic , Kurdish and English, and increasingly the songs have been written by refugee and asylum seeker members themselves.
Members of the choir often refer to it as a family, where everyone feels welcome, saying how the choir lifts their spirits, and how they love to perform. We aim to continue to build the choir as an ongoing community.
Frequent public concerts were an important feature of the choir prior to lockdown, from Migration Matters, Tramlines Fringe and Spirit of Africa festivals, to the Norfolk Park Carnival and the Royal Society for the Blind Christmas party. We have begun to resume public singing in Autumn 2021 with four performances including singing at the inspiring visit of Little Amal to Sheffield.