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Choirs urged to sing in unison on Peace Day

05 September 2014

NICOLETTE WELLS

Prom praise: the choir of St Paul's. Craig-y-Don, sing evensong on Llandudno, promenade in a VW camper van to raise funds for their organ, on Sunday

Prom praise: the choir of St Paul's. Craig-y-Don, sing evensong on Llandudno, promenade in a VW camper van to raise funds for their organ, on Sunday

ONE response suggested to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan is to unite in song on Sunday 21 September, designated by the UN as an International Day of Peace, and by the WCC as an International Day of Prayer for Peace. "Music and singing is the only thing that can truly bring people together," the founder of the project One Day One Choir, Jane Hanson, said on Monday.

She is calling on people around the world, from small church choirs to professional bodies, to "sing for peace on Peace Day". Supporters include Howard Goodall, Sandi Toksvig, John Hurt, and the British Council. Fifty groups have signed up so far, including the Zululand Gospel Choir in South Africa, Voices for Peace in Iran, and PEPA, a charity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Radio 3 is also planning to feature the initiative on the day.

Ms Hanson first had the idea for the choir two years ago, in a dream: "I woke up in the night with a vision: 'I've got to do something for peace.'" A teacher and writer who has sung with choirs including the London Philharmonic, she has made programmes for the BBC World Service about the part played by music in communities, including those in the Amazon and Soweto. She is asking churches to get involved by dedicating a hymn to peace on the day. Among those already signed up is Ryhall Church Choir, in Rutland. The church's director of music, Jane McKee, said on Monday that they planned to sing the anthem "Put peace into each other's hands" by Fred Kaan, set to the Irish tune St Columba.

"I think that it's a tiny drop in a big thing, and what we are going to be doing is very small; but if everyone did something small, then I think music can cross boundaries in a way that politicians don't. While we are going to be singing a very simple anthem, and other people might be doing much larger things, the thoughts and prayers and hopes are the same, and, from little seeds, great things grow."

If you are planning to join One Day One Choir please sign up here www.onedayonechoir.org/whos-singing

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