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Music teacher Anna hosts lockdown online concerts in aid of charities

By Dayna Farrington | Lichfield | Music | Published:

A music teacher has taken her fundraising concerts online during the coronavirus lockdown.

Anna Downes, of Music For Sanctuary, has been coordinating online music concerts for charities during the coronavirus lockdown

Anne Downes, who lives in Kidderminster, has been organising Music for Sanctuary charity concerts since early 2019.

The concerts, which Anna started after seeing the effect of homelessness, raised £7,500 for charities across Wyre Forest and the Black Country last year.

Charities that have benefitted from the Music for Sanctuary concerts include Wyre Forest Nightstop, the Good Shepherd in Wolverhampton and the Black Country Food Bank.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, Anna, who is head of music at Thorns Collegiate Academy, in Dudley, has taken the 'Musical Moments' performances online and has raised more than £1,600 to date.

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The concerts have been uploaded daily on the Music for Sanctuary's website musicforsanctuary.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube since March 20 – and will continue until the lockdown ends. Anna, a professional violinist, has taken part in the videos, as well as musicians from across the West Midlands and further afield such as Barcelona.

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Anna, 43, said: "It all started in 2019 when I set up the charity, Music for Sanctuary. It was in response after I spent time delivering food parcels over Christmas and I was horrified. We did 14 free live concerts – so one or two a month – and people would donate at the end. During that first year, we raised £7,500 which was donated to various charities.

"This year, we had done two of the concerts when the lockdown was enforced. I didn't want the series to stop during the lockdown, so decided to take them online. Now, each day a musician will send a short video of them playing.

"We started it on March 20 and through that time we have made £1,650 so far. That money has been donated to Wyre Forest Nightstop and the Black Country Food Bank, and now we are raising money for the Good Shepherd.

"We had a seven-year-old girl, Rose, from Bromsgrove, playing her violin recently and she raised £600 alone. I am a professional violinist and have taken part in three of the online concerts so far.

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"We have lots of people taking from across the West Midlands, and further afield too. A friend of mine in Barcelona did a concert."

Anna added: "We are hoping to continue the online concerts throughout the coronavirus lockdown. People are really happy to make a difference, it is good to have something making a difference.

"People are stuck inside in their houses and the concerts are something to watch everyday – music lifts the spirits.

"We have had a lot of good feedback and people say they are looking out for the concerts each day."

The concerts can be seen online at musicforsanctuary.org and on the group's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages – and donations can be made via the Facebook page 'Music for Sanctuary - Concerts in aid of local homeless charities'.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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