Mark Strachan, founder of online choral sensation Choir of the Earth, received a British Empire Medal (BEM) as part of the Queen’s New Year Honors 2022 for his charitable services to musicians during Covid-19.
When Covid-19 took hold of the world in March 2020, choirs suddenly found themselves unable to come together to rehearse or perform together. Dorset resident Mark Strachan, himself an avid chorister, recognized the void that would remain in the lives of many choir members and the healing that music could bring at a troubling time, prompting the idea to take the choral singing online.
What started as a plan to bring local choristers together online quickly grew into a global phenomenon and The Self-Isolation Choir was born.
Inspired by the aptness of his opening words, “Comfort ye”, and fearless by the scale of the challenge, Mark set out to organize an ambitious project for the burgeoning choir to learn and record Handel’s Messiah in isolation. Messiah At Home has attracted over 3,600 singers from around the world and made international headlines.
The choristers who participated found that in addition to the comfort Mark had hoped it would bring them, being a part of the Self-Isolation Choir also gave them a much-needed support network, a vibrant online community, and a strong online community. way to improve their musical skills despite confinement. The popularity and reputation of the choir soared. Since that first performance of Messiah on May 31, 2020, Mark has led the choir to attract over 8,000 members worldwide and appropriately renamed it as Earth Choir.
Under Mark’s direction, the choir has organized over seventy classes, raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity, and provided over a hundred musicians with much-needed professional opportunities at a time when their industry was decimated. They have performed for Her Majesty The Queen and worked with a litany of big names in the music world including Tenebrae, Nigel Short, Ralph Allwood MBE and Donald Palumbo of the New York Metropolitan Opera, to name a few. However, the Choir means more to many than its impressive accomplishments, as one group of choristers explains:
“The Choir has become a real family for many of us. We share music, of course, but we also share our lives and our experiences, our joys and our sorrows, our successes and our challenges. We celebrated together. and cried together, and made bonds that will last a lifetime. None of this would have been possible without Mark and his commitment, both planting the seeds of our community and continuing to nurture it as we go. that she grows.
Mark’s signature in emails to the choir is “Always here if you need me,” and that’s no exaggeration. His hard work provides us with a welcome refuge from the challenges we face as a community and as individuals, and provides a much-needed and much appreciated support, learning and kinship network that enriches our lives.
We are delighted that Mark receives this deserved recognition for his vision and commitment to creating and nurturing a unique community that provides camaraderie, education and joy to so many people. “
This spirit of togetherness and family is becoming more vital than ever as many countries face restrictions again due to high levels of Covid-19 and in-person events are canceled. However, once again Mr. Strachan BEM rose to the challenge by recently announcing an exciting new project starting January 24 aimed at bringing the community together through music:
“As we move into 2022, we face further disruption. We understand – but we are frustrated and tired. Tired of the uncertainty, tired of the restrictions and tired of everything. So let’s come together again to sing for better times to come.
As the new variant rages across the globe, join Choir of the Earth – again or for the first time – as we learn and perform Mozart’s most beautiful, positive and exciting choral work, the Great Mass. in C minor. This astonishing work has achieved cult status for its monumental music and for its sublime melodies – Pope Francis himself has proclaimed that this work “uplifts to God”. Written by Mozart for his new wife, Constanze, in 1782 when he was happiest, it is a play born out of true love and dedication.
It’s a project for everyone – we hope you join us and invite your families and friends to try our way of learning and playing great music. “
The Mozart Mass in C Minor course will be led by the charismatic and talented Choir of the Earth Music Director, Ben England, who himself received a British Empire Medal for his choral work online in October 2020, and who was recently shortlisted for the 2022 Music and the Francesca Hanley Inspirational Award of the Drama Education Awards.
This wonderful course will bring joy and community to a world in need. Further information is available on the Choir of the Earth website at: https://choiroftheearth.com/mozart-great-mass-in-c-minor