HMP Highpoint, March 2017
Updated: Oct 31, 2019
After I published an article in our Christ’s College alumni magazine ‘Pieces’ about what Sing Inside does, I made a connection with an alumnus named Don, who volunteered in a local prison, HMP Highpoint. He asked if we would be interested in making a connection with the prison, and providing a workshop there. Always keen to expand, Clover and I went to visit the prison, establishing links with the chaplain and organising our first visit for March 23rd 2017.
The workshop was just a morning this time, but gave us plenty of time to explore the songs and chat to the residents. With a folk theme, we taught favourites such as Scarborough Fair and Molly Malone, as well as the lively Drunken Sailor and the very beautiful Welsh tune The Ash Grove. The chapel space and community were wonderful, and the residents (as ever!) personable, intelligent and interesting. We found out some amazing things and heard some amazing stories, as well as some truly inspiring attitudes to the direction of their lives now, and overcoming the difficulties they had faced. Many of them said they felt uplifted and inspired by the music, and affirmed that seeing hopeful attitudes from the outside gives them renewed optimism and strength. We also uncovered some incredible talent – some wonderful voices sang out confidently, and the group picked up the music really fast.
We are so looking forward to returning to Highpoint and cultivating this relationship. It is wonderful to work with alumni (do get in touch if you are interested in our work!) and to keep making new connections. Hopefully we can start to incorporate some afternoon workshops and performance elements into what we do there. The first visit to this prison was really exciting – I can’t wait to see how it grows!