Singing has always been a huge part of my life. When I was small we sang as a family all the time – in the back of the car, on the way to school, in the bath (it’s how I learnt my times tables) around the piano or trudging through the woods… “we’re going on a bear hunt…” It all sounds a bit Von Trapp, but it really wasn’t. It was fun and silly and a way of learning how to express myself that worked, before I had a greater power of language.
At school I joined the choir and actually looked FORWARD to the big assemblies, which everyone else (I’m pretty sure, without fail) dreaded. I got to stand on stage and sing my heart out, accompanied by a slightly grumpy teacher on the piano, surrounded by friends all singing along with me… it lifted me up in a way nothing else ever did, which is how I ultimately came to study music at university in Liverpool, fall in love with Handel’s Messiah and Ray Charles, in equal measure and throw myself into community carol singing, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Singing in a choir has always been my escape. My meditation. And has always been a way to meet other musically inclined people and feel part of something special, all while we charge towards the same destination – to get the song RIGHT, drink tea, eat cake (if you’re lucky) and forget about the rest of the world and its niggles.
The Choir With No Name is a charity that runs choirs for homeless and marginalised people. The choirs themselves are full of the most diverse bunch of folk; all genders, all colours, all cultures, all creeds, all ages… absolutely everyone is welcome.
The charity was founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good; it distracts you from the troubles and tribulations within your own life and also helps you to build up your confidence and abilities. It’s a way for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to come together and support each other, through music, through standing side by side and through creating something wonderful together.
They also perform regularly – see their gigs listings for more details on this! But for anyone that’s ever been part of a choir, you’ll know that performing is an integral part of the process. Having something to aim for, to strive for, to work towards as a team and feel excited about is so, so special. And the feeling after you have performed… “I did that. We did it together”… is indescribable.
The charity’s vision is that all people in our society will have a group of good friends with whom they can sing their hearts out. They aim to enable marginalised people to make friends, build their confidence and skills and find their place in society, and it is THIS that I believe is the crux of happiness and self worth.
“For many of our choir members the support of family and friends is absent. At the Choir with No Name everyone is welcomed and made a fuss of, regardless to their background or life story. Our staff, volunteers and members support each other’s endeavours, musical or otherwise. We also strive to retain our family feel with our supporters and friends.”
You can support this amazing charity in a number of ways, but did you know that you can support it (and hundreds of other charities) simply by shopping at Amazon?
If you’ve not heard of AmazonSmile, please allow me to introduce. Simply by heading to smile.amazon.co.uk, instead of what you’d usually type into your search bar, you will be met with exactly the same prices, but with the added and most brilliant bonus that Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price of eligible products (excluding VAT, shipping fees, and returns) to whichever charity you have chosen to support – and there are currently over 2000 UK charities!
The more customers that use smile.amazon.co.uk, the more charities will receive in donations from Amazon, all at no additional cost to the customer or the charity.
0.5% may sound like a small amount, but to put in perspective, AmazonSmile charities in the U.S have received donations of more than $69 million as of November 2017. *Chin on floor.* So, it really does all add up.
Importantly, if there is a charity you want to support, or you represent a charity yourself, charities can learn more about this and register to accept donations at org.amazon.co.uk.
I think this is fabulous initiative and I intend to toot about it far and wide! Please help me spread the word by using the hashtag #justsmile on any social posts you write, and I’ll keep my eyes peeled for them – can’t wait to see.
So I’m off to do a spot of shopping now and will be selecting The Choir With No Name as my chosen charity. And fittingly, I’m in the market for a new piano book… ;)
Which charity will you be supporting?
This is a sponsored post with Amazon and all thoughts & opinions are my own