A guest post from Dan Cooper, director of Love Soul Choir, who connected with Choirs for Climate following Music Declares Emergency’s webinar on Choirs and Climate Change.
Love Soul Choir is an auditioned choir of 140 members and has been running since 2009. In 2019, I decided the make the choir paper-free. This ended up being the first step of what came to be known as our ‘Going Green’ initiative. Since its inception, Love Soul Choir has had an online members area where song content and additional tips can be accessed by members of the choir. This members only area has always featured the lyrics of songs that we were learning at any given time.
I am lucky that the demographic of my choir is very ‘tech-ready’ which meant that when I announced that we were becoming paper-free, it was a reasonably easy thing for members to adopt. To be fair, most were already accessing the content online as opposed to printing lyrics anyway – it was now more of an official request.
For those singers who weren’t quite as au-fait with the technology, I created a safe space where they were encouraged to find a way to make it work. It was more about managing change than it was a resistance to the cause. Peers supported those that found it a little tricky but this really was the minority. Most members totally understood the reasons behind the change and fully adopted it. It now means we have no paper, and no plastic folders full of lyrics either.
The paper-free angle is not just for members of the choir; as a choir leader, I believe it’s important to lead the way and I have adopted a paper-free approach to the whole way that I run the choir. I ensure everything I need to do remains digital.
This first step was so well received that in 2020, I developed our ‘Going Green’ initiative. As a leader of a community, I think it’s vital that I educate and encourage my members to become aware about the impact of the climate emergency. Each month (from January 2020), for each member of the choir, I donate £2 to the Trillion Trees project. Trillion Trees is a joint venture between BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society & WWF. These organisations came together to urgently speed up and scale up the positive power of forests, helping protect and restore forests to achieve one trillion trees by 2050, for the benefit of people, nature and a stable climate.
Each month, I update my choir members with the amount we have given and in this email I include a small tip or a bit of information about a specific topic. So far we have covered diet, plastic water bottles & renewable energy. This small piece of education goes a long way – members of the choir don’t use plastic water bottles anymore and I know a few members (off the back of an email) have changed their home energy provider to a more renewable provider. For me, small changes individually make a bigger impact collectively.
You can see more about our Going Green plan by clicking here.
Dan Cooper, Choir Leader, Love Soul Choir, UK.
Read more tips for making your choir eco-friendly here.