19 October 2021

Wednesday 27 October update: No need to book! Join us directly at 4.00 pm today by clicking on this link>>

The launch of an inspirational song of strength and resilience will take place on Wednesday 27 October, at 4.00 pm online.

Register to join at Eventbrite here to ensure you receive regular updates and a link to the live YouTube broadcast on the day.

The YouTube premiere of We Didn’t Know will also delve into the remarkable story of how staff and service users from the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) came together online as a choir to co-create, rehearse and record the song through some of the bleakest moments of the pandemic.

We Didn’t Know 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 songwriting process. The song’s inspirational lyrics and melodies were co-created by the choir themselves, and include these poignant lines:

“Stuck inside, lost and lonely, worries growing / I’m surprised I survived, just kept going”

“Like the Spring unfolds, feeling hope again / In adversity we are finding strength, we are growing”

“Before we decide what to do next, may we take from this what really matters”

The process began with Leanne and Polly supporting 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.

The YouTube premiere on 27th October will feature the ‘virtual choir’ video for 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.

#ELFTin1Voice is made up of staff and service users from ELFT, which provides mental and community health services spanning three East London boroughs, Luton and Bedfordshire. The trust’s services include perinatal, forensic, CAMHS, as well as inpatient mental health wards.

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 said. “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 event for We Didn’t Know will take place on YouTube at 4.00 pm on 27 October. Register on the Eventbrite page here.

“We didn’t know the ground we were standing on / We didn’t know how things would go

United by uncertainty / Something managed to grow”