Anna's story: making a difference through music

02 March 2020
International Study Centre students pose for group photo

I am studying the International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science at the International Study Centre. 

Earlier this year, I had the amazing opportunity of taking part in a community music project in the Teeside area led by musician Mike McGrother. It allowed me to work with people of all occupations and walks of life from all over the Teeside area, including sixth form students, firemen and other music groups. The project was called One More Light, and what we did was record a version of the song that was originally written by Linkin Park, as well as perform it at the Middlesbrough Christmas Lights Switch On (which was cold, but really fun!).

I decided to get involved with this charity single for a couple of reasons. The main reason was that I wanted to do something music-related, since it's something I really enjoy doing and haven't had much chance of doing since starting here, so it was a chance for me to do something out of my studies. The other reason was that the idea of doing something outside of the University felt like a good opportunity to do something with people in the local community that I would otherwise never have been able to meet. The reason behind this project (to reach out those who have been affected by mental health issues and suicide and their families, and show that there is always hope and someone to support you) was so meaningful, and came just in time for Christmas.

During the process of the project, the sense of community was overwhelming and is something I loved (alongside the singing aspect of it!). Even though I had never met most of the people involved before, when we were singing, it didn't matter who we were or where we from. We were all there for the same reasons: our love for music and singing, as well as wanting to bring light and hope for someone who might be feeling a bit hopeless or helpless, for whatever reason it might be.

I'm so glad and grateful that I was able to do this, and it was one of the best things to kick off my time at Durham. If you have the chance to do something with your community, whether it be within the university or outside, I urge you to take it! If it's anything like the the experience I had, I promise you won't regret it.

Find out more about life in the UK at Durham.