Cardiff Methodist Community Choir: singing for social justice

29 August 2023

Music has a way to touch people and bring them together. And this is what the Cardiff Methodist Community Choir has been doing for the past 20 years in Wales, across the United Kingdom and abroad.  

The Cardiff Methodist Community Choir is a group of 20 to 25 singers and four musicians (guitar, bass, drums and keys) who rehearse every Monday at Cathays Methodist Church. They range from five to 80 years old and come from all different backgrounds and beliefs, but they share a passion for music, singing and social justice. “We choose the songs that have a meaningful message, not just random ones,” says choir member Monica. They use screen projections of lyrics for their performances so everyone can sing along. 

The choir adapts pop songs to reflect their faith. “Our songs are very popular, allowing people to interpret them in their own way,” explains Gauri Taylor-Nayar. Gauri is the leader of the choir and also the EDI officer for Cardiff Methodist Circuit, a local preacher, a musician and a music teacher. Music is her way of life. 

cardiff-methodist-community-choir-1The choir performs an Easter play each year. This year, the title was When I’m Gone. “It was based on a song called Cups. It showed how the disciples ignored Jesus. They were just playing with the cups and missing his message,” says Gauri. The choir danced as they entered the stage. The singer who played Jesus carried his cross. The other singers wore black clothes with coloured armbands and left them on the stage as they walked away and sang. 

Shout is a show about injustice and unheard voices in society. They sing about issues of homelessness, domestic violence and neurodiversity. “We met homeless people in Cardiff. We invited them to the show. Some came and were touched by what we did,” says Gauri. 

The choir has also performed at the Food Bank and asked for food donations. “We bring uncomfortable subjects to light in a way that makes people think. It is easy to ignore problems and we show them in a different way,” says singer Helen. 

The choir toured its show Shout for 18 months before the pandemic to raise awareness about social justice. The pandemic paused their travels. They hope to resume their tour soon but Brexit makes it harder with visas. They used to fund their tours themselves, but they now need some support. 

The choir sings songs from different genres and artists, like Tina Turner, Les Miserables or Stormzy. They do classical, pop, rap, jazz and blues music and mashups. The choir is unique, powerful and original. Their songs and passion show that “The faith is alive. My saviour is not dead. He’s alive and so am I,” says Gauri. 

If you would like to invite the choir to perform at your church, get in touch with Gauri Taylor-Nayar