Sing your worries away! Supporting the Surprise street choir

Caroline Schmid-Steiner
November 4, 2019
The Surprise street choir celebrated its tenth anniversary in Basel and Liestal on 19 and 26 October 2019 with the active support of our employees. Whether assisting with set-up or dismantling, working at the box office or helping to cater for the roughly 100 guests – our employees helped wherever they could to make the anniversary shows an unforgettable event.

Music gives people a voice

Our dedication to music extends beyond our sponsorship work. We know that music does us good, reflects all facets of our life and, quite simply, brings people together. In the case of the Surprise street choir, music puts the spotlight on people who would otherwise remain in the background. The choir’s music gives issues such as poverty and the isolation of socially disadvantaged people in Switzerland a voice; an important voice, given that one in twelve people in Switzerland are affected by income poverty.

Baloise staff help out at reception with concert by street choir "Surprise"

It was a brilliant and rewarding experience.

Pierre Girard, volunteer at the anniversary concert
Baloise employees get involved in street choir concert

“I signed up for this CSR¹ assignment because I never miss an opportunity to support Surprise and the Surprise newspaper vendors. It was a brilliant and rewarding experience. What’s more, I got to know some other great Baloise employees who were helping out, too.” says Pierre Girard right after the concert.

¹Corporate Social Responsibility

Back to life through music

The Surprise street choir, which is part of the same organisation that publishes the well-known Surprise street magazine, has been giving people in financially precarious and socially difficult circumstances the opportunity to take part in this cultural and social programme for ten years now. As well as offering a way back to life through music, it also serves as a form of therapy for the 25 choir members.

Baloise commitment to the Strassenchor Surprise in Basel
Baloise at the "Surprise" street choir in Basel

The exuberant singing in the group boosts feelings of self-worth and fosters a connection to the social environment. The singers show what they can do at appearance after appearance and concert after concert. This gives them the confidence to overcome their social marginalisation, while at the same time raising awareness among the public for the needs and the abilities of socially disadvantaged people.

Lilian Senn – singer in the Surprise street choir

In the SRF report (available in German only) on the choir’s anniversary, Lilian Senn serves as a brilliant example of how singing in the Surprise street choir can help participants to deal with their own past, forget poverty for a while and look to the future.

Lilian Senn puts it very aptly in her own words in the report: “If you have nothing to concentrate on other than poverty, that can drag you down. Singing gives me a form of escape.”