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EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

In a progressive city such as Bristol, where Colston's statue came down and global movements have started, there is a strong desire to implement positive social change that includes everyone. And, in reality, we're all still learning how best to do this, and we've all got a long way to go. 

We believe that any singer who has invested in their artform, should be included and counted in music industry opportunities, regardless of their age, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, neurodiversity or health condition.

 

We also believe that choirs are an incredible model for practising equality, diversity & inclusion.

THIS IS A SAFE SPACE FOR:

LGBTQ + Non-Binary singerswe encourage a culture of appropriate pro-noun usage, gender-inclusive address, and challenge choral gender stereotypes relating to vocal range. 

Ethnic Minorities - we wish to welcome and reassure all people from minoritised ethnic communities, that we have a zero tolerance of racist language, attitudes and / or behaviour.  

People of all ages (16+)we believe that one of the joys of choral singing is that it can be a multigenerational social activity, and we welcome applications from people of all ages 16+.

People with disabilities, neuro-diversity, and / or health conditions - many people live with limitations on their physical, emotional & mental abilities which, often, are 'invisible'. We wish to promote a culture where 'ableism' is not pitted as the 'norm', and we wish to reassure new applicants that you will never be discriminated against by us because of a condition or limitation you may be experiencing. You are always welcome to sit down or out in rehearsals where needed, and we will do our best to support any other needs you may have within our own ability. Please see where our own limitations lie below, and / or get in touch with any concerns.

Religious Beliefs - although the 'feel' of our music can be quite gospel at times, we sing non-denominational, humanitarian music, which focuses on including universal values commonly shared by ideologies from around the world, e.g. connection, kindness, love. We do not discriminate against any religious belief, and hope that all faiths can find the message in our songs accessbile and affirming.

Diverse Musical Backgrounds - we wanted to create a project that celebrates and includes different pedagogies and approaches to music education. We use western notation and find it useful, but we don't believe this defines your ability as a musician. We welcome singers who learn by ear, and provide recorded learning material also. 

It's clear that when there is diversity in nature, it thrives. And, just like in nature, everything has its limitations. Please read below to understand some of ours. 

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF

Movement - We believe that music is an embodied, physical practise. Some of our exercises will involve walking and / or moving in the space. If you have mobility limitations, you are always welcome to adapt any of these exercises, and / or sit them out. Doing this does not disclude you from the main activity of singing our repertoire. 

Physical Proximity - In order to hear one another as a choir, we need to be physically close to each other, within reason. This will always be whilst respecting personal space, but if you are socially distancing for whatever reason, this is something to be aware of. If this is due to an ongoing condition, being in a choir at this time may not be a suitable activity, unless distancing is part of its framework. 

 

Touch - Some of our exercises may include light, respectful touch, e.g. a hand on a back, passing a pulse while holding hands. This is only with your consent, you can always opt out, and it does not disclude you from the main activity of singing our repertoire. You will need to be able to self-advocate, but please be reassured that you are in a safe space and free to do this without judgement.

Performances - We have plenty of space and flexibility in our rehearsals, but this is less so the case in performances, where we are often having to work with the limitations of staging, and sometimes will be standing for up to an hour at a time. There is only so much we can do to accommodate mobility issues in these cases - obviously, we can provide seating where possible, but every performance venue will differ, and it may mean that you won't be singing in your section. We need singers to be pro-active and collaborative in finding solutions, and aware of the challenges and limitations involved in performing. 

Contagions - Regardless of whether it is covid, we appreciate social responsibility around any contagious illness you may have. Many of our members are professional voice users, who rely on their vocal health to make their income, and / or may have vulnerable conditions e.g. autoimmune diseases, which even a common cold can be harmful towards.

 

Attendence - The ability to attend rehearsals and make time for music practise, is a necessary and unavoidable part of achieving the standard, and the social experience we are advertising. We ask for singers to aim to miss no more than 2 rehearsals per term, but we also know that health conditions may get in the way of this, especially if you are not wishing to pass on a contagion. You are more than welcome to ask a fellow member to host a video call, so that you can still join us vrtually, otherwise we just ask that you are able to catch up on missed rehearsals / music practise in your own time, if you still wish to take part in performances. 

Concentration -  It can be challenging at times to hold focus in large-group rehearsals. We want everyone to feel at ease, to have fun, and to have the time they need to iron-out tricky moments in our repertoire. It is vital, however, that we are able to bring back and retain focus when it is asked for, so that we can make the most of our time. You are always welcome to ask us for help or extra time. If you have a condition that impacts your ability to focus, we would need you to be able to use your own strategies to regulate this, and respond to agreed cues and feedback. This is to include the needs of everyone in the group, so we can honour what we've gathered to do. 

Memorising - In order to achieve an optimum performance experience for our singers and audience, we aim to memorise our music and be off score in our main shows. This is so we can be fully present together, responsive to direction, and also to enjoy the experience of performing the music to the max. We will always work up to this, and use creative ways of supporting this endpoint. If you have a learning disability that might struggle with this, we can allow score to be used if absolutely needed, but we would prefer for this to be a last resort as opposed to a substitute. 

Musical Ability - We believe that every singer deserves to be met at the ability level they are working at, so that they can continue to grow and thrive. The purpose of this choir responds to an identified need for projects that provide the opportunity to work at a faster musical pace, suitable for the collaborations and performances we aim for. This is not with the intention to disclude or discourage beginner singers, as we also believe that anyone can learn to sing and develop their ability. We encourage beginners to start with suitable projects that allow the time to develop foundational technique, in order to ensure the best learning experience. If you are keen to sing our repertoire, but feel you may struggle at this stage, regular one-to-one singing lessons is the most effective way to develop your skills and confidence.

 

DISCLAIMER

It is important to note, that we are an independent, (as yet) unfunded project run by self-employed musicians and music teachers, and we are limited in our time, resource and expertise in supporting everyone's individual needs. We also have access / health needs of our own, that need to be included in how we hold the space and run the project. If you do have specific needs that may notably affect your ability to be in this project, it is important that you are able to self-advocate, and / or communicate with us in advance before joining the choir.

 

We are human, and we will get things wrong sometimes, but we are up for learning, growing and starting valuable conversations that are within everyone's interests.

Taster Sessions - Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to offer additional 'taster' sessions or trial periods to new members, but if you have any specific concerns, you are more than welcome to get in touch to discuss anything, and / or arrange a drop-in visit to one of our choir rehearsals, a term in advance of the one you wish to join.

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