I was one of the organisers of The Little Big Peace Event, an annual festival in Streatham inspired by Jeremy Gilley's efforts to create an International Day of Peace. We organised talks, screenings, workshops, fairs, school events and concerts, including an unforgettable impromptu gig by Willy Mason in the White Lion (but that's another story!).
In 2013 I produced a choral concert in St Leonard's Church. The church is small but has a beautiful acoustic; it nestles on the A23 as it lurches south towards Streatham Common. I liked the idea of a peace concert with the sound of angry traffic outside!
I asked Anil Kamalagharan and the London Contemporary Voices to sing and happily they took up the invitation. They embraced the theme of peace thoughtfully with an original choice of songs including Portishead's Roads and Alt-J's Fitzpleasure which is inspired by Hubert Selby Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn and the brutality of urban life.
Their set - and beatboxer - offered a pleasing contrast to the church choir's opening set which included works stretching back to Hildegard of Bingen. Altogether it was an entrancing evening of music. Time really did seem to still and even the sirens of Streatham High Street faded into the night.