The Sofa Singers
1364. James Sills
James Sills, from North Wales, brings together 500 people each week for ‘The Sofa Singers’, a global online choir that tackles isolation and lifts people’s spirits through singing.
James, a musician, created ‘The Sofa Singers’ after seeing images of people singing on balconies in Italy and realising the power of music to bring people together while they have to be socially distant. Over 7, 000 people from over 50 countries have joined his twice weekly singing groups since they began in March, in which he leads a 45-minute session where participants learn and perform a classic song while staying at home and sitting on their sofa.
In a personal letter to James, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I want to thank you for the brilliant way you have used your gift for music to bring people together from the safety of their sofas.
“One of the great hardships in staying at home has been a loss of social contact with others. But your wonderful chorus has helped many to overcome that sense of isolation, while playing their part in the vital mission to protect our NHS and save lives.
“Inspired by the spontaneous creativity of the balcony singers in Italy, you have curated a magical moment each week that has seen hundreds of people around the world sit apart, yet sing together as one.”
“It is a real honour to receive this award and I would like to dedicate it to the thousands of Sofa Singers around the world. It’s wonderful to hear how the sessions are helping people to feel more connected and positive at this difficult time. Life is better when we’re singing together!”