Climate Change Festival 2022: Edinburgh choirs come together to raise awareness of climate change

Choir members from all over Edinburgh will come together this Sunday (September 18) to raise awareness about climate change at the Pleasance as part of this year’s Climate Fringe Festival.

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

As part of the Choirs for Climate campaign, members from the NHS Choir, Calton Consort, Southside Choir and local university singing groups, among others, will come together to sing new songs themed on the climate crisis.

People will be able to enjoy choral music written by an array of composers from all around the world that highlight the challenges we must overcome if we are to reduce the globe’s temperature.

Sunday's event will see individuals from several local choirs come together at Binks Hall to sing songs reflecting the climate crisis. Photo by Caroline Lesemann-Elliott.

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    Several pieces of music included in the repertoire have been created by local talent, including Edinburgh singing group, Protest in Harmony with their song Leave The Oil In The Ground and Enough is Enough by Scottish songwriter Karine Polwart.

    The free event will take place at Binks Hall at the Greyfriars Charteris Centre on the Pleasance between 2-4pm this Sunday.

    Choirs for Climate is a campaign launched by multi award winning Edinburgh composer, Chris Hutchings, to help choirs access resources who want to spread awareness about climate change.

    Mr Hutchings said: “It’s primarily meant for people to come along and sing in an informal way rather than being a full performance but we welcome people who want to come along and listen as well.

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    Chris Hutchings is an Edinburgh composer who has been making music for over 20 years. Photo by Alison Porwol.

    “We’re looking for people who want to campaign on environmental issues and sing and combine those two passions. But we also welcome people who want to come along and listen as well.”

    Mr Hutchings, 43, hopes that the one-off event that showcases environmental songs reflecting, warning, solutions and hope, will develop into a larger concert next year.

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    The Edinburgh composer believes that taking action against climate change is something everyone can contribute to, and within the choir community he has provided resources on how singing groups can reduce their carbon footprint.

    Some simple measures include rehearsing at venues that are easily accessible by public transport, touring locally, and using tablets to access sheet music as a paperless alternative.

    Mr Hutchings said: “I think it’s important to emphasise that footprint of organisations like choirs is pretty tiny compared to the footprint of companies.

    “And we can make more of a difference through changing the behaviours of large companies and governments than we can by changing individual choir movements. But choirs also want to feel like they’re doing what they can in their own ways.”

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    “We’re not doing enough and we haven’t been doing enough ever since global warming was observed and the more we don’t do now, the more we’ll have to do later.

    “And I think we’re rapidly approaching the point when there won’t be enough that we can do – there just won’t be the resources available for that.

    “Classical music has a means of campaigning about this -partly because its got a reach within the upper echelons of British society.

    “People who make decisions that have an effect on the climate like politicians and business people – they quite often do go to classical events and it’s a message that can reach them.

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    “We need to have a lot of ways of reaching people and make them change their minds and music is just one of them, but it’s one where I feel like I can make some sort of contribution.”

    For more information on the campaign and Sunday’s event visit www.choirsforclimate.com