Hemel Hempstead woman praises virtual ExcludedUK Virtual Choir for helping her during lockdown
The aim of the choir is to raise awareness and support for ExcludedUK overall
A woman from Hemel Hempstead is part of ExcludedUK's Facebook community group which has released a powerful video of over 100 people singing a parody of, ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables.
Amy Wright, a TV freelancer - mainly sports and large events - joined the ExcludedUK community, when she lost all her work almost overnight in March as the country went into lockdown.
From there Amy joined the ExlcudedUK Virtual Choir - around 100, mostly amateur, singers and musicians who have never met each other.
ExcludedUK, a non-profit organisation, was set up to represent the estimated 3 million people who have been excluded from any meaningful financial support from the government throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Amy said: "For many of the 3 million excluded, like myself, the past few months has caused not only a financial crisis, but also a mental health crisis.
"I have suffered from anxiety and depression over the past few months, and I have personally seen others who have been suicidal, due to being excluded.
"This on top of the same pressures everyone else faces about keeping safe and doing the best to protect their family's wellbeing in a pandemic.
"Many people have had to shut down their businesses. Many have mounting debts. Many are selling their homes. Many are using foodbanks and reliant on family, friends, or charity just to keep themselves and their families going.
"I found support in the ExcludedUK Facebook group - and from there joined the ExcludedUK Virtual Choir, led by the wonderfully talented and engaging Kate Cameron.
"The members have never met in person, many have never sung publicly before, and we learnt, rehearsed and recorded this song in a matter of days on our phones."
The arrangement is the work of Kate Cameron and Melody Schroeder, Kate is a music and singing teacher and Melody is an actress and scriptwriter, they have never met in person, but have been working closely over the summer, putting together the choir, which consists of over 100 other members of the ExcludedUK community, with ages ranging from 18 to 70, some who have never sung publicly before.
Kate worked on the musical arrangement and Melody re-wrote the lyrics to ‘One Day More’, from the hit stage musical, Les Miserables, focusing on the themes of power, dreams and the fighting spirit of the people.
The video was brought to life with the help of other ExcludedUK members, David Lawrence (Musical Director), Steve Woods (Video Editor), Tom Smith and Ross Cameron (Sound Engineers).
Amy added: "This choir has been a ray of light, an absolute inspiration to see such disparate people from across the whole UK, who have nothing in common except the unfortunate circumstance of being excluded, to all come together and express themselves.
"It has given its members a purpose and a positivity that has been otherwise lacking since March."
"It is truly heartwarming to see such diverse people come together to create something meaningful. The song and the choir are inspiring, and I am proud to be part of it.
"The choir was also intended to bring some joy and togetherness through singing, for people who were struggling.
"Mental health has been a significant issue for many in the excluded community and the choir is one of several initiatives that has helped with that - as well as raising awareness that so many people are excluded at all."
The arts have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic, with many performers - singers, musicians, dancers, actors, as well as curators, producers and technicians struggling financially after seeing their work literally dry up overnight.
Kate said: “The ExcludedUK community has been a saviour to me and putting this song and video together has given me a focus and a reason to get up in the morning. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Melody added: “I was really struggling with my mental health too, and I am so grateful that I met Kate through the Facebook group and I’m so inspired by all the amazing people in the ExcludedUK choir and proud of what we have created.”