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In 2018, European Youth Music trialled a project that brought together young refugees and asylum-seekers from across England and invited them to take part in our European Youth Music Week. The young refugees formed a choir and performed a choral piece specifically composed for them, alongside the European Youth Music Week symphony orchestra, in Leicester Cathedral. Similar to EYMW, this endeavor reflected the same ethos of international friendship through high quality music making.

How did it all start?

Choral trainers in Bristol, Birmingham and Leicester carried our rehearsals with young refugees and asylum-seekers who now live in England. Choir members then joined European Youth Music Week in Oakham (near Leicester). They spent the week rehearsing different music, the new choral piece and learning new skills through music, including improving their English. Mid-week the choir and the orchestra rehearsed together for the first time. The final performance took place in Leicester Cathedral in front of friends and the local community of Leicester.

The pilot project was targeted at refugees and asylum seekers aged between 16 and 30 from all over England. This continues to be replicated across the country, creating a network of choirs that will regularly come together to perform as a national youth choir. This was recreated in Ede in the Netherlands in 2019, working with refugees based in Germany. 

What now?

We are invited on a regular basis to perform at a variety of events across the country. Before a performance we will all come together and rehearse either for a full day or over a weekend residential course. So far this year we have performed at the Amnesty International’s Midlands Conference. You can see our past performances and updates via our social media.