Our Alive & Singing choir is proud to announce the launch of their first originals album, titled “A Place To Call My Own”
Funded by the Arts Council and individual donations, written by professional song-writing partnership Matthew Crozer and Cat Smithurst in collaboration with Residents & staff of AMAT.
Click the button above to order your copy via email, and join us at 8pm on Friday 29th January for a Facebook Live launch event!
This unique album captures the issues that many members of the homeless community face daily; the pain of losing loved ones, substance misuse, domestic violence, addiction, and difficulties with mental health. The songs also capture the moments of kindness shown to AMAT Residents, as well as documenting how when they had very little, the humour and tenacity that all of these individuals possess is what empowered them to rebuild their lives with the help of the amazing AMAT and 411 HUB staff.
Music is such a powerful medium – and for many of us in Lockdown over the last year it has been a lifeline, as well as a way of connecting with others despite how long we must remain apart. For many of us music is a huge part of managing our mental wellbeing, whether that be a form of escapism, listening to a song that makes us feel “understood” or just feels good to sing along to.
Gathering the information and cataloguing the experiences of our residents was designed to be an empowering and therapeutic journey for those involved. Residents were invited to take part in surveys, task groups and individually interviewed about their experience of homelessness and how they came to live at AMAT UK. These resulted in the songs that you will hear on the record.
The creation of the songs and the opportunity to be involved in the performance of the album gave our residents a sense of purpose, something to be part of, and ultimately something to be proud of. Many of our residents have never had the opportunity to work with professional musicians or experience working in a recording studio and we are thrilled that they rose to the challenge and hope that this will be just the start of things to come.
The project was devised by our choirmaster Cat Smithurst, a professional musician who has a long-standing relationship with AMAT UK and a background in personal development –
“I knew that this would be a really special project to work on. I have had the pleasure of working with the choir since it was formed in 2016, I have got to know the staff and residents well and was so excited about the opportunity to help them tell their stories as well as raising awareness about the many issues as to why people become homeless. Most people do not realise how close to being homeless they could be, and I think the stories told throughout the album are themes that everyone can relate to, whilst reiterating that point. The stories of incredible resilience and individuality shone through, as well as the outstanding ability that AMAT Residents have to reset, repair and rediscover themselves as individuals rather than a contributing statistic to local rough sleeper counts. Writing and recording this album has been an absolute joy! We hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.”
We hope to celebrate with a live gig later in the year [when government restrictions are eased and it is safe to do so], but in the meantime you can support the ongoing efforts of the choir by purchasing your own CD of the album (please click the button above) – all monies go directly back into the charity, helping us to continue to support homeless people and those at risk of homelessness to rebuild their lives to independent living.
The album is also available via online outlets and streaming services – though we would ask supporters to please make sure you buy it, not just stream it. Even if you never normally buy music, even if you have never bought music before, if you want to give money to the charity you have to buy it so that 100% of the profits will go back into the charity. If you just stream it, instead of giving them 99p you’ll be giving them something more like 0.99p.
For more information or details of how to join our virtual Album Launch on Facebook – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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