he Liverpool Lighthouse Community Choir was formed by Liverpool Lighthouse over Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal was to connect the community through singing, to help people stay well through lockdown and to build on the traditions of the Love and Joy Gospel Choir who over 20-years have sung at the Hillsborough Memorial Service at Liverpool Football Club Stadium. Members of the choir include Hillsborough survivors, people who lost friends and family members as well as current Anfield residents.
Emerging from this project is the single Wind Beneath My Wings, which is free to stream from all platforms including Spotify and iTunes https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/liverpoollighthousecommunitychoir/wind-beneath-my-wings and 99p to download. All proceeds will go to Liverpool Lighthouse Charity which will support music in the local community with a focus on disadvantaged and vulnerable young people.
A 6-track EP will be released in spring 2022. The songs chosen are favourites of the Hillsborough families and have been performed by Love and Joy Gospel Choir over many years. Although inspired by the Hillsborough Memorial, the songs have taken on a greater resonance as people grapple with the losses from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Choir Director is Anu Omideyi who led and works with the award winning The Reapers Choir and has had hits in the gospel charts. Anu said: “This community choir is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring choirs I’ve worked with. We met online, rehearsed online and came together as new friends and family to record during a pandemic. Some members have personal connections to the Hillsborough disaster having been there, or anxiously waited for loved ones to return home that day or connected to someone who lost their lives. Others joined the choir because it meant much to them for personal reasons (including combating loneliness during the pandemic) but amongst all there is a special sense of purpose, community, friendship and the overwhelming desire to pass these on to listeners everywhere.”
Jenni Hicks, who lost her two daughters and was Vice Chair of the former Hillsborough Families Support Group asked Love and Joy Gospel choir to sing at the Hillsborough Memorial Services, which is the start of the story of the music which led to 20 years of songs at the Memorial Services and then this concert for the Hillsborough families and release of the song for the nation.
Jenni Hicks said: “Such a positive, inspirational and beautiful way of bringing communities together during lockdown through the songs and hymns the Love and Joy gospel choir sang at the Hillsborough Memorial services over many years.”
Members of the choir have direct links and experience with the disaster including a man who went with his best friend who didn’t come home and he still has the ticket and a 16 year old girl who mum’s best friend was killed at Hillsborough.
Serena Rushton, best friend of Vicki Hicks, one of the 96 daughter, Danya Rushton is a member of the choir and added: “It’s been difficult for everyone in this choir, but it has become a wonderful community project bringing everyone closer together and has shown how powerful music can be.”
Rebecca Ross-Williams, the new Creative Director of Liverpool Lighthouse said:
“It’s really quite wonderful for the music from the Hillsborough Memorial Services to have a legacy. In response to grief and sadness they were chosen to remember love ones to uplift and instill hope. They were songs of healing in effect! And now when so many people are facing such hardship and loss, especially this Christmas, they can be shared with the nation. This Christmas we are honoured that Hillsborough Families are joining us at Liverpool Lighthouse so we can share the songs with them as a gift. Our hearts desire is that in releasing the single Wind Beneath My Wings, it reaches every corner of the land to touch the hearts of many.”