Many cultures have some kind of feast around the shortest day of the year. It is usually a time of winter cold and darkness. At such festivities it can seem natural to focus on human suffering, on people being excluded or worst still tortured. Rather than deflate our spirits, as the focus of the concert at St Werburgh’s in Manchester on Friday 2 December 2016 was Freedom from Torture, we raised our spirits in defiance. One of the songs we sing, Come the Time, is all about laying down arms and being free of credal and racial differences and in another from South Africa – Siyahamba – we sing about ‘marching to where freedom begins’.
But it was not all serious stuff! The sheer exuberance of the Finnish reindeer song Oley Leyloyla with random whoops from members of the choir was a true delight. (That’s us in the video below singing it in Manchester Central Library in 2014!) The event was blessed by a full audience who enjoyed our songs.
The concert raised £834 for the charity Freedom from Torture’s work with survivors of torture who live here in the North West. The Bernstein Quartet, The Schubert Trio, Paul Twine, Manchester College Choir and MCC (that’s us) provided just what it had said on the tin – an evening of classical music, blues, show tunes and world music, plus a few Xmas tunes for good measure.
Blog by William West