“Quite simply, Choir with No Name has given me something to live for.”
A powerful statement to begin the story of an incredible organisation. This is the story of The Choir With No Name and how they’re finding the voices of hundreds of homeless and marginalised people. The Choir with No Name runs choirs for homeless and marginalised people. They’re a diverse bunch of folks; all genders, all colours, all sizes, all ages – everyone is welcome.They sing pop, rock, soul, gospel, reggae, musicals… you name it, they’ll give it a go… although they’re yet to enter the realms of grime. They were founded on the premise that singing makes you feel good; it distracts you from all the nonsense in life and helps you to build up your confidence and abilities. This is how it all started…
The first choir was founded by Marie Benton. Gospel singer and saxophonist Marie was working for homeless charity St Mungo’s at the time, but she decided to resign and follow her dream of starting a choir for homeless people. Marie remembers: “At the first rehearsal, four choir members turned up, and three volunteers. We sang ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley. Then we went downstairs and had dinner together and a good chinwag! My other memories are pretty sketchy, but I do remember feeling quite nervous but then just having a great time. And with week 1 under our belt, we carried on singing and eating together every Monday night.”
And they kept singing. And kept singing. Until other city’s decided they wanted to join in and now The Choir With No Name can be found in London, Birmingham and Liverpool. The Choir with No Name Liverpool was founded in January 2014. They rehearse every Wednesday evening at 7pm in the Bluecoat, on School Lane, in the city centre. Their choir rehearsals are led by the wonderful choir director, Mersey Wiley. They have a hot dinner after every rehearsal (cooked by their lovely volunteers) and they particularly look forward to having birthday cake once each month.
In 2016, The Choir With No Name reached a cumulative audience of over 15,000 people through their gigs, reducing stigma by showcasing the wildly positive things their members can achieve.Last year over 968 vulnerable adults have benefited from their services. Their most recent gig was at the amazing Liverpool Loves Festival where they went down a storm. Whether they have been homeless, have a mental health problem, are in recovery from addiction or are otherwise vulnerable and at risk, The Choir With No Name gives them a safe, positive, and supportive environment in which to have fun and flourish as individuals.
The Liverpool Choir has performed at St George’s Hall, Liverpool Town Hall, Liverpool Pride, Threshold Festival, Hard Days Night Hotel, The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, Birmingham Mac, Bluecoat, Albert Dock, Liverpool One, World Mental Health Day, Tate Liverpool, various conferences and community events, BBC Radio Merseyside, and they’ve even sung a bride down the aisle for her wedding…..to name but a few! It’s impossible to ignore the homeless epidemic and whilst it breaks our heart, The Choir With No Name is a reminder of how truly wonderful some humans are and that there is always hope. Whether it’s in a hot meal, a birthday cake or singing a song with your new best mates. We look forward to seeing more of them around the city.
Choir Manager: [email protected]