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Choir of the Earth Founder Mark Strachan receives British Empire Medal in 2022 New Year Honours
Mark Strachan, Founder of online choral sensation Choir of the Earth, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen's New Year Honours 2022 for charitable services to Musicians during Covid-19.
What originally began as a plan to bring local choristers together online soon became a global phenomenon and The Self-Isolation Choir was born.
Inspired by the aptness of its opening words, "Comfort ye", and undaunted by the scale of the challenge, Mark set about organising an ambitious project for the burgeoning choir to learn and record Handel's Messiah in isolation. Messiah At Home went on to attract more than 3,600 global singers and made international headlines.
The choristers who took part found that, as well as the comfort Mark had hoped it would bring them, being part of the Self-Isolation Choir also brought them a much-needed support network, a vibrant online community, and a way to improve their musical skills despite being in lockdown. The Choir's popularity and reputation soared. Since that first performance of Messiah on 31 May 2020, Mark has steered the choir to attract over 8,000 members worldwide and rebranded it, appropriately, as Choir of the Earth.
Under Mark's leadership, the Choir has hosted over seventy courses, raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity, and provided more than a hundred musicians with much-needed professional opportunities at a time when their industry had been decimated. They have performed for Her Majesty the Queen and worked with a litany of huge names from the world of music. However, the Choir means more to so many than its impressive achievements, as a group of choristers explain:
"The Choir has become a real family to so many of us. We share music, of course, but we also share our lives and our experiences;
We are delighted that Mark is receiving this deserved recognition for his vision and commitment in creating and nurturing a unique community that provides camaraderie, education and joy for so many."
Nikki Chilton, Communications Director
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