Sheffield choir joins forces with social inclusion charity to share stories behind people's favourite songs

A Sheffield choir has teamed up with a social inclusion charity to engage locals in conversations and share their favourite songs.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:00 am

Steel City Choristers was formed after the Sheffield Cathedral Choir closed unexpectedly in June 2020 and the lay clerks were made redundant.

Looking for a new way to reach out to the community, former members got together and Steel City Choristers was born, it has been making choral music accessible to Sheffielders ever since.

Now, the choristers are working with Parson Cross Initiative, a charity that hosts social events for people in north east Sheffield, on the Reasons to Sing! project, performing people’s favourite songs in a choral style.

Kate said that the children involved in Steel City Choristers gain a musical education from semi-professional singers.

Kate Caroe, chair of trustees at Steel City Choristers, said: "Music has the power to change lives, it’s also personal and so emotional and gives us a sense of wellbeing. We take that out to people who wouldn’t normally listen to choral music. For Christians it’s an expression of worship but for everyone it is an expression of wellbeing.

"When the children were told the choir was closed, they all wanted to keep singing. We thought we could reach out to more people by singing in the city. The children involved are getting an amazing musical education, singing with semi professionals and to a really high standard.

“For Reasons to Sing! we have asked people to submit their favourite song and we have selected some and arranged them into a choral music style."

Six videos, each with two themed stories and songs, will be produced, six community singing workshops will be held with Parson Cross, and a joint community concert will also take place. The videos will be on the themes of community, loss, gratitude, ritual, love and comfort.

The children of Steel City Choristers rehearse at St John's Church, Owlerton.

Kate added: “We are filming people to find out what their story is and why they have picked their song. We have also picked one of our songs. You can sing things that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to say. It makes accessing these difficult and heavy subjects easier.”

The Choristers have also applied for funding to make a documentary of the project.

Kate Caroe, chair of trustees at Steel City Choristers.