Survivor choir celebrates Anti-Slavery Day with moving music

published on 17 Oct 2023

Setting off events to mark Anti-Slavery Day on 18th October, The Salvation Army held a concert at its Regent Hall church on Oxford Street celebrating survivors of modern slavery. 

Among the audience was Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie, co-founder of The Anti-Slavery Collective. All were treated to an evening of outstanding music culminating in a performance by ‘Dreams’, a singing group made up survivors of modern slavery supported by The Salvation Army through its London Outreach service. 

modern slavery survivor choir
'Dreams' singing group prepare to sing in a concert to mark Anti-Slavery Day 2023

The singing group formed out of music therapy sessions which is just one of the specialist activities The Salvation Army have developed to help survivors manage the trauma they have experienced. Creative therapeutic activities add value to support provided by the modern slavery Government Contract which is run by The Salvation Army and provides access safe places to stay, links to support, such as medical care, counselling and legal advice, to help survivors rebuild their lives.

The weekly sessions welcome people from all over the world who come along to enjoy singing together and opportunities to share with the group for mutual support and meet with their support workers. Months of rehearsals have built a strong sense of community and increased confidence in the survivors, who delighted the audience with inspirational performances of music from Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ and Abba’s Mamma Mia to the title song from The Sound of Music by Rogers and Hammerstein. 

“Before the concert I was cold with nerves but now we have performed I feel warm with pride and excitement. We couldn’t have done this without The Salvation Army.”
Survivor of modern slavery who sings with 'Dreams'

The Salvation Army’s Regent Hall Songsters, the choir of the Oxford Street church which hosted the concert, and Europe‘s leading female a cappella group, Black Voices, also delighted the audience with outstanding performances. In the weeks leading up to the concert, members of Black Voices have been providing the survivor singing group with musical tuition in the black oral tradition and joined them on stage for the evening’s dramatic finale of three songs written by slaves in the 19th Century.

The audience were encouraged to consider how they could join The Salvation Army in supporting survivors of modern slavery as Major Kathy Betteridge explained the importance of raising awareness of this all-pervasive crime and the impact of The Salvation Army’s Survivor Support Fund and volunteering roles in helping survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • To safeguard the survivors, many of whom were victims of criminals gangs, the audience was asked to refrain from taking pictures or recording any of the performances. 
Supporter wearing the #WeAreNotForSale tattoo

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