Spring 2021 issue
Est. Reading: 2 minutes

The Making Of We Didn’t Know – A New Song by #ELFTin1Voice

The song We Didn't Know by the #ELFTin1Voice choir, alongside a film describing how it was made, had its online premiere in October with over 250 people taking part.

The event featured the ‘virtual choir’ singing We Didn’t Know, recorded interviews with choir members describing what the project meant to them, and input from some special guests who have been part of the #ELFTin1Voice journey since its inception.

The remarkable story of how staff and service users from across the whole of the Trust came together to co-create, rehearse and record the song through some of the bleakest moments of the pandemic is captured in the film.

The song itself takes the listener on a lyrical journey, from isolation and loneliness, through “connected moments” and “unexpected laughter”, to signs of hope managing to grow.

Talented composer and choir leader Leanne Sedin led the #ELFTin1Voice group sessions online during 2020-21, working alongside ELFT’s Polly Bowler, Music Therapist and Head of Arts Therapies for Bedfordshire and Luton, to facilitate the song-writing process. The song’s inspirational lyrics and melodies were co-created by the choir themselves.

The film shows how Leanne and Polly supported the choir to share their reflections on life under lockdown, holding space for the many mixed feelings and diverse experiences people brought to the table. The song became a way to authentically hold all this together, without the need for sugar-coating but still with a sense of hope.

Leanne has been working with #ELFTin1Voice since 2019, leading the choir’s performance to thousands at TEDxNHS at the IndigO2, as well as at staff awards and various conferences.

“#ELFTin1Voice is a great example of how singing is for everyone,” Leanne says.

“I’ve always loved working with ELFT, but this project has been particularly special. It was quite a challenge, working entirely remotely - we were learning as we went along, finding ways to enable people to sing together online, to co-write lyrics and melodies, and to facilitate home recording! There were lots of laughs, and a few hiccups along the way, but I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved together.”

Polly said, “Creating a space where individuals could be heard and share their experiences safely was the most important part of the project. Participants were able to be honest about what they were going through, which meant we were able to co-create a song that was meaningful and real. It offered catharsis and validation to all who participated, myself included.”

The launch was a success in no small part due to the efforts of friends at Health Education England (HEE)  and the British Medical Journal, who joined the Trust as digital partners leading up to the event.

If you haven’t heard the song yet, you can find it here.

And the launch itself is still available - you can see it here on the ELFT YouTube channel.

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