Since being founded in 2009 More Than Just A Choir has been living up to its name, going far beyond music to bring friendship, support and joy to those affected by mental illness.
“You were the first to welcome me into your groups, you accepted me and let me have fun like never before in my life without asking for anything in return. (Sweet respect, protective and true) You were my first beat of a New Life.” VA
Run by volunteers and free to all, the group has gone from strength to strength, regularly performing at local events including RAF Association Battle of Britain Commemoration and the Harrow Disability Arts Festival. They have even performed in front of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Harry Duke of Sussex at Lambeth Palace.
MTJAC is a lifeline to many who find themselves vulnerable, lonely, or are struggling to engage within the community. The experiences of choir members illustrate just how special the group is, with one saying “I don’t think it should be underestimated the unity and the long-term friendships that it has created. It’s so unique and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
After continuing online throughout Covid, reaching members when they most needed it, MTJAC still runs 3 online sessions a week. However, their previous venue for in person practises, which they used for free, was no longer available once pandemic restrictions eased. They found a wonderful new home at Victoria Hall Community Centre, however hiring their room there has been a challenge financially.
Run entirely on donations, the group was faced with not being able to continue their live meetups. Fortunately, a grant from Harrow Giving has provided a much-needed lifeline, allowing sessions there to continue until Christmas!
One member describes how important MTJAC was to them last Christmas: “Thanks to More Than Just a Choir, I spent Christmas day doing what I love best. Singing with people who have become my friends on Zoom. 8 hours of singing songs that I love. The Choir has kept me connected through very dark times, climaxing in the most memorable Christmas Day.” The grant from Harrow Giving has been invaluable, allowing the show to go on, and MTJAC to continue their fantastic work in the local community.