Leicester united through song: the lockdown choir bringing hope in times of darkness
By Jessica Smith
A Market Harborough opera singer has created an innovative lockdown choir, digitally mixing recordings from 95 members across Leicester for a performance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the World.’
Olivia Slatter, 22, the choir leader, stated: “I decided to create the choir, as singing has helped me so much through tough times, and I feel that it is important to try and get people young and old to communicate with something that they have in common.”
Prior to lockdown, Olivia undertook an internship, on top of studying at Trinity Laban, a London-based school of music and dance, but with the challenges COVID introduced, her difficulties living with dyslexia and autism were exacerbated, stating: “Lockdown affected my daily routine, as routine is vital for my ASD; I lost a lot of motivation and drive, my anxiety was very heightened, with constant changes and not knowing the future, it was incredibly stressful.
“The choir has been an amazing experience and I’m so pleased I could make a small difference; it’s been a great learning experience for me and ‘Brick Work Studios’, who have helped combine the individual recordings for the track.
“This choir is a non-bullying, no judgement choir, to relieve stress, even if you sing into the shower or sing whilst cleaning up, please join – because this choir is for you!”
Funded by the National Lottery and free to join, the young singer emphasised the choir’s success, as she stated: “The project has done incredibly well, we have certainly hit our targets! With restrictions lifting, and a slow return to normality, we’re keeping an eye out for future performances together, and we’re considering an ‘Olivia’s recovery choir; singing has been a resource helping mental health, and especially with the pandemic and rising suicide figures, this choir is something I felt a responsibility to do for the community.”
An interactive Facebook poll unanimously chose the hit ‘Heal the world’ to perform, a song of positivity and hope at a time when it was much needed. With almost 100 members already, this chorus collaboration looks no signs of slowing down.