The global MS community connected through music on World MS Day, via international live-streamed concert

World MS Day (30 May) challenged the social barriers that leave those with MS feeling lonely and socially isolated via a first-of-its-kind ‘Tune in for MS’ concert. 140 people from the global MS community came together to sing with global stars. 

At a moment when the world is social distancing and experiencing what it is like to live an unconnected life, World MS Day brought the global community together through an international live-streamed concert ‘Tune in for MS’. The event featured the newly-formed global MS choir singing Lean on Me, made up of 140 people from 33 countries and performances from some of the stars of the global MS movement.  

On World MS Day 2020 (30 May), MS organisations around the globe joined forces with the MS International Federation (MSIF) movement and more than 2.3 million people living with MS worldwide to end the disconnect through music.

The choir was directed by the renowned choral director, Mark De-Lisser, and there were performances from special guests; American rock band Everclear’s frontman, Art Alexakis, who shared his MS diagnosis last year; British soul singer-songwriter and Grammy award winner Junior Giscombe whose partner and daughter both had MS; Concert pianist with MS, Olga BobrovnikovaMarco Voleri, the Italian tenor who was diagnosed with MS in 2006; Egyptian singer-songwriter Rula Zaki and huge South American star Pablo Milanes from Cuba. The choir was directed by the renowned choral director, Mark De-Lisser who has worked with some of today’s top vocal talent and directed the choir at Meghan and Harry’s wedding. The show was hosted by MS advocate Trishna Bharadia, who is an MS Society (UK) Ambassador.

Marco Voleri – Italian tenor

Art Alexakis performed the truly emotional single he wrote about the day he got his diagnosis ‘The hot water test’, and Junior Giscombe sang ‘A change is gonna come’, particularly apt given the pandemic we’re all experiencing.

Speaking about the event for World MS Day, Cliff from the UK was a tenor in the global MS choir: “Taking part in the global MS choir today was an exhilarating and inspiring experience. People with MS never know when they might need somebody to lean on, so it was empowering to be able to sing out that we are always there, that we can lean on each other.”

“The song…oh the song and it’s amazing words and music. The safe, loving haven of my wonderful MS Family in Ireland has grown seamlessly to the MSIF global choir,” says Clíona from Ireland.

Seetharam, from India, explains how music elevates his connectedness to the world around him: I love to sing. I love to sing lots of old songs and that is what helps me to feel connected to the world. Although physically I am denied access in many places due to the lack of accessibility, music is something that has been constant and has helped me to forget the pain of MS.”

Peer Baneke, CEO of the MS International Federation, comments: “Music is part of so many of our lives, but it can be easy to forget its many health benefits. The Tune in for MS event was a way to create that feel-good factor and the social connections that flow from singing together. ‘Lean on Me’ was a particularly apt song to connect our global movement during these new and challenging times. Today is a day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.”

World MS Day

Global MS Choir

Every year on World MS Day, the global MS community comes together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign with and for everyone affected by MS. The campaign spans across over 100 countries, reaching thousands across the world. 

This World MS Day, people affected by MS and those around them were urged to nurture and celebrate connections; building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care. The theme of ‘connections’ was chosen by the MS International Federation in February 2019, well before the pandemic began, but it has taken on even more relevance in current times. Join the #WorldMSDay #MSConnections conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Encouraging MS communities and individuals to connect is so vitally important.

For more information on how you can get involved, please visit the World MS Day website here.  

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