Sing the Change: What a Wonderful World Connected and Distant

Sing the Change: What A Wonderful World

Connected and distant

After eighteen months of restrictions and working from home with the daily commute from bedroom to workstation feeling the norm it was time to surface and try something new.

For this I joined the Rock Choir and turned up to taster session not really knowing what to expect – despite having the song sheets in my bag.  Would I have to sing by myself? Would I be good enough? I say this as singing is not a known forte of mine.

My apprehension was instantly dispelled with a warm welcome, no test or singing individually, more an invitation to place yourself (socially distanced) in the choir section of your choice – a place where you feel your voice is comfortable and heard.

My fellow choir participants immediately introduced themselves and made me feel welcome and the fun began.

With the advent of COP26 in Glasgow the invitation came in to participate in the Sing the Change and Music Declares Emergency (MDE) Flash Mob singing an arrangement of Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.

I imagined that taking part in a flash mob would be on a ‘life to do list’ – so the answer was yes. Along with this was the significance of the song and its words to connect those around the world here and departed. ‘It’s super important – music and song are one of the most powerful ways to create change’. Sam Lee, MDE

So, there we were on Saturday morning 30th October 2021 gathered in George Square, Glasgow rehearsing and then going live simultaneously at 12.00 with choirs in Liverpool and London in addition to choirs of all ages who have shared their recordings.

It was an amazing experience and as I sang with this amazing group of people of all ages I thought of and felt connected to family, friends and colleagues from all corners of the world.

It made me think about how IFICs community connect across the globe to promote integrated care through compassion, kindness, collaboration, co-production and importantly listening to the voices of lived experience.

Connected yet distant, we have the same goals and values of making life better for people and communities through integrated care and support. It’s great that IFIC Scotland can learn with IFIC’s global networks and with our fellow Hubs in Australia, Canada and Ireland.

Launching our Wellbeing in later life programme, framed around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, made me reflect how much I have missed opportunities to gather together in person. I long for the time we can make music together, sing and dance in the rain! All are ageless ways of connecting and expressing joy in a world that for now can feel distant though connected.  Odense can’t come soon enough….

But the final word has to go to Mr Louis Armstrong:

The colours of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky,

Are also on the faces, Of people going by.

I see friends shaking hands, Saying how do you do

They’re really saying I love you……………  – link to the Glasgow recording there is a bit of a preamble before the song which is between 14.42 – 16.34 (with a second rendition taking it to 18.00)


Mandy Andrew
Associate Director
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
Senior Associate, International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC)