This year, World MS Day (30 May 2020) challenges the social barriers that leave those with MS feeling lonely and socially isolated via first-of-its-kind ‘Tune in for MS’ concert. 140 people from the global MS community will come together to sing.
At a moment when the world is social distancing and experiencing what it is like to live an unconnected life, World MS Day is bringing the global community together through an international live-streamed concert ‘Tune in for MS’, and everyone is invited to take part. This exciting event will feature the newly-formed global MS choir singing Lean on Me, made up of 140 people from 33 countries. There will also be performances from some of the stars of the global MS movement.
For those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), this current disconnected feeling much of the world is experiencing is not a new reality. Many people in the MS community experienced loneliness and isolation long before COVID-19, and these unprecedented times have only heightened this. That’s why, this World MS Day 2020, MS organisations around the globe are joining 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 event will be live-streamed from Facebook and YouTube at 2pm CET.
The choir will be directed by the renowned choral director, Mark De-Lisser, and there will be performances from special guests. These include American rock band Everclear’s frontman, Art Alexakis, who shared his MS diagnosis last year; British soul singer-songwriter Junior Giscombe; Concert pianist with MS, Olga Bobrovnikova; and Marco Voleri, the Italian tenor. The show will be hosted by MS advocate Trishna Bharadia, who is an MS Society (UK) Ambassador.
Cliff from the UK is a tenor in the global MS choir: “Taking part in the global MS choir has been 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 rehearsal, 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. I’m very excited for the Tune in for MS event as a way to create that feel-good factor and the social connections that flow from singing together. ‘Lean on Me’ feels like a particularly apt song to connect our global movement during these new and challenging times. It is a day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future. We hope you can join us.”
Concert pianist Olga Bobrovnikova has written two books on how music helps the brain: “I enjoy my music more now than at any other time in my life – my increased understanding of the neurology of music and performance allow me to derive great pleasure when I play and I feel very close to my audiences.”
Hema, India says, “A year after my diagnosis, the one thing that had not changed was my love for music. I am grateful to be able to spread the joy of music to everyone; the young and old, sick or healthy. In 2019, I and my newly formed all-female trio, The 969, performed on World Music Day where we spread the word about MS again particularly in women, and inspiring them to keep on living!”
Every year on 30 May, 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 are 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: https://worldmsday.org/