In late 2015, our Birmingham choir director, Pete Churchill, joined a team of delegates from the brilliant arts & homelessness 'With One Voice Cultural Olympiad' project, to set up choirs for people affected by homelessness in Rio de Janeiro. You can read his blog from his previous trip HERE.
Last month Pete returned to see how the choirs were getting on, and was greeted with a wonderful week of music, smiles, samba and stilt walkers! Here are a few glimpses into the important work that Pete and the With One Voice team did this time round:
It was fantastic to work with the With One Voice delegate team, coming together from acrsoss the globe, once again (Pete's 4th from right in the back row!)
The team worked hard in Rio on a multi-faceted performance in an area of the city called Lapa, which is a bit of a gathering place for rough sleepers. It involved choir singing, a string section, samba percussionists, dancers and stilt walkers!
The musicians rehearsed hard for a pop-up performance at the Museum of Tomorrow.
They held a workshop held at the cathedral showing the guys how to make instruments from scrap and rubbish. Once the instruments were made, it inevitably turned into a bit of a samba-jam!
A highlight of the week was a performance on the steps of the Teatro Municipal in the city. With instrumentalists, drummers and stilt walkers, they certainly know how to put on a show! The choir was made up of many singers drawn from some of the new homeless choirs our Brum choir director Pete helped to set up back in November 2015. There are now 11 new homeless choirs in Rio since they were there last year.
On the last Saturday the choirs performed another pop-up performance at the Museum of Tomorrow followed by all systems go for the final show at Biblioteca Parque. This was a fantastic all-singing all-dancing affair. All performers were people of the streets - 'população da rua' - and it culminated in the symbolic singing of a japanese song as a hand over to the next olympic hosts.
On the last day of his trip, Pete sent us this message: 'Sunday was the perfect way to end the week. I spent a lovely few hours at Ricardo's [from With One Voice] house debriefing about the week and discussing ideas for further developing the 11 homeless choirs set up in Rio as part of the With One Voice project. I shared lots of potential new repertoire with him which he recorded so he could add to the bank of songs he's amassing. Choir singing isn't nearly such a widespread and accepted activity in Rio as it is in the UK, and so anything we have to share of our experience seems to be really valuable. It was great to finish the packed week on a quieter and more personal note. And what's more Luciana- Ricardo's girlfriend - cooked us a wonderful vegetarian lunch!'
Fantastic work Pete, Ricardo and all the With One Voice crew, not least all the choirs and musicians. Until next time!
L-R: Luciana, Pete, Ricardo
Check out more of the amazing work With One Voice are doing in arts & homelessness across the globe on their website with-one-voice.com