Mass singing events to put ‘pressure’ on governments ahead of Cop26

·3-min read

A mass singalong uniting choirs from across the UK will help keep “pressure” on the Government ahead of Cop26, a co-founder has said.

More than 500 vocalists will perform a new version of What A Wonderful World, arranged by celebrity vocal coach Mark De-Lisser, in London, Liverpool and Glasgow on Saturday.

It follows the release of a studio version of the Louis Armstrong track, which features the voices of The Kingdom Choir – who performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and young singers from the Brit School in London.

The mass singing events, called Sing The Change, have been organised by Music Declares Emergency (MDE) to encourage governments attending the Cop26 summit in Glasgow to act over climate change.

The group was founded partly in response to the Extinction Rebellion protests and brings together artists, music industry professionals and other organisations.

Singers will gather at midday at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral steps, London’s Russell Square and George Square in Glasgow.

Peter Quicke, chair of record label Ninja Tune – which features Bicep, Kae Tempest, Thundercat and Young Fathers on its roster, is a co-founder of MDE.

He told the PA news agency the music industry had a responsibility to act because it has a “voice that is larger than its turnover”.

He said: “It is important to remain hopeful because you have to remain motivated and focused on the issue. One of the common responses to the climate emergency is to say, ‘We are f***** and I can’t do anything’ or ‘I don’t want to think about it – I am not going to do anything’.

“It is important to have hopeful responses to it. Singing and choirs are another constituency and a generally very positive and open-minded constituency. So it is enabling choirs to speak about the climate emergency and to do something.

Peter Quicke is chair of the record label Ninja Tune and a co-founder of MDE (Music Declares Emergency)
Peter Quicke is chair of the record label Ninja Tune and a co-founder of MDE (Music Declares Emergency)

“Hopefully it will be powerful in some way – another small thing to keep the pressure on Government to act. It is important to keep acting and to keep the issue at the top of people’s agendas. That’s what it is all about.”

Mr Quicke said there was no “last chance” to stop climate change, but Cop26 signalled the final opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

He said: “There’s never a last chance but it is just a question of how much devastation we want to visit on the world and what risks come with that.

“Each Cop that rolls around and we haven’t started reducing the world’s emissions radically, then the higher the temperature of the world will get.

“In a way it is the last chance saloon if you want to stay under 1.5 degrees, and even then there is quite a lot of margin for error.”

Those unable to attend Sing The Change are encouraged to host their own gatherings at home or in nearby community spaces.

More information is available online.

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