Voices Beyond Divisions

Singing for peace in the Middle East: bringing together children from contrasting faith and non-faith communities across the UK

We did it!

On 20th Apr 2016 we successfully raised £5,096 with 74 supporters in 56 days

 Why I started this:  I wondered desperately what I could do. What was happening in war zones horrified me but I was only a teenager and a musician. About two years ago it came to me. What if we could truly sing for peace? What if children around the world could do just that with us. What if, in the process, we could radicalise young people in quite a different way: with ideas of tolerance and respect? After all, wasn’t that what the religions people pretended to fight for actually taught? What if we could make something together that would express those vital ideas, something children and young people from different worlds could share, something that could use the positive power of music and words to bring them closer in mutual understanding? Out of that came the project I and a team of my fellow young musicians at The Purcell School of Music are determined to make happen. It’s ambitious but it can really work with your help. It’s something we’re passionate about, as I explain on the video. And we’re sure it can make an important kind of difference.

                                                    (Asha Parkinson - composer of What War? )

                          *All the music and words you can hear in the video are from Asha's composition.  


What we’ll do:   We’ve arranged to start work with 100 children aged between 9 and 11 from different faith and non-faith communities across the UK. We’ll rehearse What War?, a specially written choral piece at different venues in monthly workshops, with fun games and teambuilding to help things along. Then there’ll be input from Syria Relief, Christian Aid, We Will Inspire and the Jewish Society of the University of Exeter and individuals such as the renowned nasheed artist, Abdullah Rolle. We’ll record the piece with a professional standard chamber choir and orchestra made up of both traditionally 'Western' orchestral and 'Middle-Eastern' instruments, giving a first public performance at St James' Church, Piccadilly on the 12th November. We’ll go on to make an important campaigning video, combining footage of the event with clips from the dedicated aid organisations. We’ll show not only the suffering inflicted on civilian populations but the simple message of humanity and hope from the younger generation. And there’ll be more beyond that because we have in mind follow-up and follow-on projects that will continue to go Beyond Divisions.

Why do we need the money?  All of the team at Purcell School running the project will donate their services.  Many of the other people and organisations involved in the project have offered their services at reduced rates or free.  We need to pay for venue hire for rehearsal and performance, workshop costs, travel costs, DBS checked chaperones for the different groups of children, media-footage and video editing and production and a variety of other incidental expenses that we have costed carefully. Please help us meet those costs.

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