India 2013

Following the end of the Lent Term, the College Choir travelled to Mumbai to take part in a pioneering collaboration with the charity Songbound, which aims to change the lives of deprived children through music. As part of the project, the Choir visited a number of schools and centres run by charities, running singing workshops with over 200 children. At the end of the project, a number of children joined the Choir on the stage of blueFROG in central Mumbai for a concert celebrating the achievements of the previous week. The Choir's visit coincided with the Hindu festival of Holi and so together the singers worked on songs about colour, including Lavender's Blue and I can sing a rainbow as well as Indian songs including Vande mataram and Sawalee (a song written by the children in one of the centres visited). Members of the Choir led the children in playful warm-ups and breathing exercises and, whilst attention was paid to singing technique, the focus was on sharing the joy of music between people of different ages and cultures. Joe Walters, Founder and CEO of Songbound, described the project as 'utterly inspiring and mind-blowing' and members of the Choir would all agree that the experience was one which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Through their own fundraising efforts, the Choir has also raised enough money to ensure that each of the centres and schools visited during the trip will be able to run a choir for at least the next three years. Videos of the workshops and blueFROG concert may be seen here, cuttings from the press may be seen here and here, and further photos may be viewed on the Choir's Facebook page. The Choir also performed for members of the Cambridge Society of Bombay at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club before travelling to Goa where they gave a concert of Sacred Choral Music for Holy Week to a capacity audience in the Basilica Bom Jesus.

The Choir's collaboration with Songbound is an ongoing one which seeks to establish a regular programme of cultural exchange between the UK and India. To support this exciting project please visit the JustGiving page.

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