Jesus College Choir in their more traditional garb

Jesus College Choir has travelled to Mumbai to work with disadvantaged children from the poor slum areas of the city.  As part of the Choir’s work with the charity Songbound, the Choir have visited some of the most deprived areas of Mumbai and performed for the children there, before leading workshops and teaching vocal technique. 

The visit culminated in a concert on March 24th featuring both Jesus College Choir and the children they have been working with, where a mixture of Indian songs, songs written by the children and western classical music were performed.

Songbound is a musical outreach initiative that aims to use singing as a means of working with some of India’s poorest children.  They organise collaborative projects with professional musicians, schools and choirs. The charity’s founders were inspired by Joe Walters’ 2010 HBO film ‘The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical’, which documented the formation of a children’s choir from a Mumbai slum.  Seeing the excitement and increased confidence of the children, Songbound’s founders wanted to set up a long-term project that would bring singing to impoverished children in India.

During the buildup to the trip, the Choir has raised money to support the work of Songbound.  Through their various fundraising activities – which included a fun-run wearing choir robes, sponsored beard-growing and a concert in Jesus College Chapel on 1 March  – the choir has managed to raise enough funding for the charity to continue its work for at least another three years.  The money will contribute towards the maintenance of the various children’s choirs founded by Songbound in Mumbai.

 The choir hopes that the trip will be a rewarding experience all round.  Mark Williams, the Director of Music at Jesus College, said: "This is a unique opportunity for Cambridge students to make a difference through their music-making. We can forget what an enormous privilege it is to live and work in this beautiful city, enjoying all its cultural riches, as we strive for academic and musical perfection, but for the children of the Mumbai slums, the opportunity to sing and work together towards a performance is something that is far from ordinary."

The ultimate aim of the project is to establish a relationship between Jesus College and the choirs run by Songbound.  The hope is that eventually some of the children will come to the UK to perform with Jesus College Choir.

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