Hillsborough survivors and community choir release charity single on 33rd anniversary of disaster
The Liverpool Lighthouse Community Choir is releasing Abide With Me today.
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The Liverpool Lighthouse Community Choir, which was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic, recorded the track as part of a project to bring communities together through song.
They also sang in a free Songs of Healing concert in December last year at their namesake venue in Anfield, the Liverpool Lighthouse.
The hymn Abide with Me has been part of the Hillsborough memorial service whilst the names of those who lost their lives at the Hillsborough tragedy on 15 April 1989 were read out.
This was done every year for 20 years before the pandemic.
The Lighthouse Choir recorded the song as part of a collection of songs to pay tribute to those affected by the Hillsborough disaster including several of its members and to offer hope and healing to everyone in the nation who is affected by loss or tragedy.
The popular hymn also sets the scene for many sporting events, including every FA Cup final since 1927.
Who is singing?
The two soloists singing Abide With Me have personal connections to the disaster.
Gareth Hayes survived the disaster after being in pen 3 on 15 April 1989.
Danya Rushton, 16, whose mother lost her best friend Vicki Hicks alongside Vicki’s sister Sarah Hicks at the disaster is also singing.
She said: “Abide With Me is a very meaningful song for many people.
“While my initial involvement with the choir was because of its connections with Hillsborough, I think the song is for anyone that has experienced loss and is looking for a sense of strength to get through it.
“I feel extremely honoured to open the song.
“I sang Abide With Me along with the choir at the Songs of Healing Concert in December last year which was attended by some of the Hillsborough families and it felt like the song was an integral part of the remembrance.”
What is the Liverpool Lighthouse Community Choir?
The community choir includes survivors of Hillsborough and families and friends of victims. It also has members of the Love and Joy Gospel Choir who have performed at Hillsborough memorial services over the years.
The Liverpool Lighthouse Community Choir met online throughout the height of the pandemic then came together at Liverpool Lighthouse over the summer to record songs for an album.
The choir is led by vocal coach and choir director Anu Omideyi who was asked to audition, select and vocally coach members of the public either based in Liverpool or with connections to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
She said: “Many of our choir members have been recently impacted by different kinds of loss or tragedy one way or another and some were directly affected by the Hillsborough disaster.
“So, we wanted to use this much-loved hymn as a song of healing for ourselves and as many people throughout the nation as we can.“
Rebecca Ross-Williams, 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 loved 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, they can be shared with the nation. Our hearts desire is that in releasing the single Abide with Me it reaches every corner of the land to touch the hearts of many.”
When will the single be released?
Abide with Me will be released on April 15 2022, the 33rd Anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. It will be free to stream from all platforms including Spotify 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.