Since setting up the SingSpire programme I’ve begun to realise just how singing together can be a community-building initiative. We are committed to this idea and to helping churches realise this potential.
SingSpire’s work thus far has largely focussed on getting new initiatives off the ground. We launched a new ‘Babysong’ group in Stoke Newington and we’re working on an exciting new children’s choir, bringing together four churches and three schools.
The Cantignorus Chorus made waves with a simple idea – bringing together some of Hackney’s most marginalised people with the choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral to make a Christmas single – a project that caught the imagination of people round the world and interested the Times, BBC Radio Four and many others…
The Tower Project is a life-changing charity working across a number of east London boroughs, which supports children, young people and adults with disabilities – both on site and in their homes. The Project provides a range of services to specific groups within the community, most notably people who are learning disabled, physically disabled, Autistic, deaf/hearing Impaired, blind/visually Impaired, deaf/blind and those with Mental Health problems.
SingSpire already works with the Salvation Army on delivering ‘Babysong’ as well as ‘Smart Crew’, a musical theatre group for primary school children in Stepney. For the past 2 years, we’ve also helped the Salvation Army to run a community-based Gospel choir. This new partnership grows out of that group.
In practice, this means taking a number of the Salvation Army’s church members, as well as people from the church’s wider network of friends, into the Tower Project’s Stepney site to join in full voice with young people of the Tower Project and their carers who want to be part of a choir.
In our first rehearsal, we learned about what it means to be a choir – we sang enjoyable warm-ups which also involved percussion, helping the group to understand intonation. We then sang a few songs – ‘This little light of mine’ and ‘Love me tender’ – which we learned by heart.
It was a moving first rehearsal, not least because the commitment to making music together was so strong. Here’s to a successful first term of singing. We’ll be sure to make our online followers aware of our first performance!
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