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There With You: Tower Hamlets choir sing from home to combat risk of social isolation

PUBLISHED: 17:44 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:45 30 March 2020

There With You - the East London Advertiser's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.

There With You - the East London Advertiser's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.

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The coronavirus crisis has forced the Sing Tower Hamlets choir to get creative.

The Sing Tower Hamlets choir have become the Sing Tower Homelets choir as the coronavirus crisis has gripped the UK. Picture: Sing Tower HamletsThe Sing Tower Hamlets choir have become the Sing Tower Homelets choir as the coronavirus crisis has gripped the UK. Picture: Sing Tower Hamlets

Led by Leanne Sedin — who started the choir in 2013 — the group have replaced their weekly singalongs with home sessions using the Zoom app.

Leanne explains that this is designed both “to keep the community aspect going, as well as to have opportunities to sing even when home alone.”

The teacher is very clear on the psychological benefits of singing, particularly important as covid-19 exposes everyone to the risk of social isolation.

The community remains very strong; they have a regular group of 40-60 singers, and there were 42 people on last Tuesday’s Zoom call.

Leanne says the new rehearsal method — aptly dubbed #SingTowerHomelets — has worked a treat: “It’s been great! It’s not possible to actually sing together because of the delay, but seeing each other, singing along with the leader, learning songs, singing old favourites - that’s all been fantastic.”

So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with Leanne’s favourite comment describing the experience as “quite weird, but amazing.”

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The first session on March 19 featured the song “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King; Leanne remarks on the appropriateness of the famous line: “All you’ve got to do is call - And I’ll be there...”

This positivity is typical of a choir making the most of a situation that is far from ideal.

They are also very welcoming, with the power of technology allowing people to sing from afar.

A lady from South Shields — whose choir had closed down — was overjoyed to be able to join in using Zoom.

Leanne explains that they have asked anyone wishing to join to email the group via their website, though for now they are on an always-intended easter break.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday March 31) was meant to be their end-of-term concert before that break began.

Though the performance had to be cancelled, Leanne is full of optimism for the new term, explaining that “plans are already underway.”

Of the choir, she says: “I love the group, they give me such support.”


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