2 minutes reading time (340 words)

The Choir

No, I don't mean the choir at St. Sabinus' - much though we appreciate their lead in our singing. Nor do I mean the scratch choir rustled up 2 or 3 times a year at St. Matthew's by Ian & Cynthia Stuart; their voices booming out from above (the organ loft) challenge the rest of us to sing up. But no, not them either.

I'm thinking instead of "The Choir" - the long-running series of programmes about Gareth Malone and his amazing ability to bring groups of people together to sing, in the process building both confidence and a sense of community. Last night I watched the first of 2 programmes about Gareth working with pupils and staff at Kensington Aldridge Academy, the secondary school sited right next to Grenfell Tower. After the fire in June 2017, in which 5 pupils from the school were among the dead, KAA had to move to temporary accommodation in what looked like the largest collection of portakabins in the world. Gareth has come to help prepare a special concert for the school's return to its original site - a move which stirs up sadness and anxiety along with hope.

Please make time to watch these programmes. They are moving, funny, almost heartbreaking at times. And they have a huge amount to say about belonging - about stability - about kindness - and about the strange power of music to bring hope and joy. I find Gareth's sensitive and positive approach inspiring, and I learned something about relating to people who have suffered trauma.

Grenfell, of course, isn't over. The community waits for the public inquiry, people try to re-build their lives, and the school, led by committed Headteacher David Benson, gives value to the lives of young people. Carrying the pain of the past, they are determined to look to the future. 

There is an unmistakeable spiritual depth to Grenfell and its aftermath. Sometimes it seems that only disaster can turn us from our self-preoccupation to focus on the things that really matter... 

Reculer pour mieux sauter
Do no harm


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Saturday, 23 March 2019

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