Wisbech community choir to feature in film about experiences of Fenland migrants

PUBLISHED: 12:24 11 July 2019

Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: the choir in full voice in the Long Room. Picture: PETER KING.

Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: the choir in full voice in the Long Room. Picture: PETER KING.

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A Wisbech community choir is set to feature in a film about the experiences of migrants in Fenland.

Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: Loc-Mai Yuen-Brooker conducting. Picture: PETER KING.Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: Loc-Mai Yuen-Brooker conducting. Picture: PETER KING.

The Clarkson Singers, who attend a weekly rehearsal in the Long Room at Octavia Hill's Birthplace House, have been selected to provide part of the soundtrack for a film commissioned by the Rosmini Centre, a charity which helps to promote cohesion by offering support to migrants.

soundtrack for a film commissioned by the Rosmini Centre, a charity which helps to promote cohesion by offering support to migrants.

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Journalist, producer and film maker Jake Bowers met with Loc-Mai Yuen-Brooker, the choir's musical director, while production was in progress, which led to him to pop into a practice.

Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: choir members singing for the camera. Picture: PETER KING.Film captures the stories of migrants in Fenland: choir members singing for the camera. Picture: PETER KING.

He liked the sound of the 40-strong mixed voice choir, now in its 27th year, and he liked its name - so he invited the members to add their background voice to the production.

The film will feature the choir performing 'Amazing Grace', the hymn written by the converted slave trader, John Newton, as well as 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' and Rachmaninov's 'All-Night Vigil'.

Mr Bowers' aim was to capture the stories of people who had come to the area, embracing 21st century slavery, bad housing, low wages and exploitation and, at the positive end, migrants who had successfully mastered English and happily accessed opportunities.

The 10-minute film is set to be screened at a conference in London in November, which brings together two projects supported by the Controlling Migration Fund, which was set up to help local areas facing pressures linked to recent immigration by providing funding for councils to boost integration, in partnership with Fenland District Council.

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